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.