If you’re someone who steers clear of drinking coffee because caffeine-containing substances make you feel jittery, that’s valid! However, if you avoid drinking the morning beverage out of fear of giving yourself heart palpitations (cardiac arrhythmia), new research suggests it’s time to shush that noise for good. In fact, the opposite may even occur.
“Coupled with some older studies that looked at limited populations, it’s understandable to draw a conclusion that coffee intake might cause an irregular heartbeat,” says Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, CPH, MWC, ELS, and member of our medical review board. “But according to this new study, that’s not the case.”
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The study, which was recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine, analyzed the coffee consumption of more than 386,000 people over a three-year period and compared that data with cardiac arrhythmia. What the researchers found? After making adjustments for demographics, lifestyle habits, as well as both diseases and conditions that could make the heart flutter, they discovered that “each additional cup of habitual coffee consumed was associated with a 3% lower risk of incident arrhythmia,” as reported by CNN.
More specifically, they looked at genes known to be associated with coffee jitters. For example, the CYP1A2 gene is often referred to as the “coffee gene” as it aids the body’s metabolism of caffeine. So, if that gene is fully functioning, it just means that your body can metabolize caffeine at a normal rate and tolerate it well.
If that gene mutates, that’s when the rate of caffeine metabolism slows, and therefore, increases the intensity or the length of the “coffee high” feeling.
“Some people who drink caffeine may be familiar with the jitters—a feeling of nervousness that can also involve physical movement, such as fidgeting. This can also make you feel like your heart is racing or palpitating, as we say in medicine,” says Bohl.
However, the study revealed no such association between caffeine and heart disturbances. So, does this mean you can drink as many cups of coffee as you want per day without any consequences? Not quite.
“It’s important to recognize that this study is not telling us to drink more coffee or start drinking coffee, to protect against developing arrhythmias,” Zachary D. Goldberger, MD, MS, said to Eat This, Not That! “However, it should offer more reassurance that moderate coffee consumption is not necessarily harmful, and will not always lead to arrhythmias.”
For more, be sure to check out:
- What Happens To Your Brain When You Drink Coffee
- One Major Effect Coffee Has on Your Metabolism, Expert Says
- These Are the Two Best Diets For Heart Health, According to Doctors
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