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Coffee's Risk to Your Heart Depends Upon Your Metabolism

March 23, 2006 | 12,277 views
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People who have a genetic trait that makes them slow caffeine metabolizers have a higher risk of heart attack associated with drinking coffee.

Metabolized Rapidly or Slowly

A study of more than 4,000 people showed that about half had a genetic factor that makes caffeine stay longer in their bodies. The other half metabolized caffeine rapidly, and experienced no increase in heart attack risk from coffee drinking.

Four Times as Likely

Slow-metabolizers who drank two or more cups of coffee daily were 36 percent more likely to have a heart attack than those who drank little or none. The risks were even higher for slow-metabolizing coffee-drinkers under 50, who were as much as four times more likely to have a heart attack than their peers.

May Explain Earlier Contradictions

These findings might explain why previous studies on the effects of caffeine have had mixed results. Some previous research linked coffee-drinking to a higher risk of heart disease, while other studies have indicated the opposite.


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

The lead researcher on this study was quoted as saying it "clearly illustrates that one size does not fit all," and I couldn't agree more.

That's one of the major principles behind the concept of nutritional typing; what may be very healthy for others is not necessarily as healthy for you. That's why proper eating according to your nutritional type is really the only way to learn what foods really are good for you.

In the nutritional typing system slow metabolizers of caffeine are typically protein types. So if you are a protein type it appears that coffee provides you with many more negative effects than a carb type.

A simple way to know how quickly you metabolize caffeine is to notice how sensitive you are to caffeine. If you can drink a cup of regular coffee and fall asleep you probably metabolize caffeine quickly. However, if a half-cup of java in the early a.m. keeps you awake at night you are a very slow metabolizer of caffeine.

However, even if you are a slow metabolizer please remember that coffee drinking is problematic at best. Coffee can:

      And, if you think going decaf is any safer for you, guess again. Decaffeinated coffee can increase risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

      So if you have the coffee habit it is time to consider stopping. However, please avoid the mistake that most people make when deciding to eliminate coffee from their diet. Caffeine is a drug and if you go off cold-turkey you will needlessly suffer.

      I recommend weaning yourself off coffee by cutting down the amount you drink gradually over a period of days or even weeks. It's important to drink plenty of water during the process in order to keep your body well hydrated.

      While you're doing that, here are some tips to reduce the chance of harmful effects until you can completely eliminate it:

      • Use organic coffee. Coffee is a heavily sprayed crop, so drinking organic coffee might reduce or eliminate your exposure to toxic herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers.

      • Try "Swiss Water Process" decaf. If you are going to drink decaffeinated coffee, be sure that it uses a non-chemical based method of decaffeination. The "Swiss Water Process" is a patented method and is the best choice. Most of the major brands are chemically decaffeinated, even if it says "naturally decaffeinated" right on the container.

      • Avoid sugar and milk. These are actually much worse for you than the coffee itself.

      • Only use unbleached filters. If you use a "drip" coffee maker, be sure to use non-bleached filters. The bright white ones, which most people use, are chlorine bleached and some of this chlorine will be extracted from the filter during the brewing process.

      Once you're no longer drinking coffee, remember that your healthiest and best beverage alternative, regardless of your nutritional type, is clean fresh water.

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