Sunday, March 12, 2006

Caffeine and heart attacks

Many in Malaysia avoid decaffeinated coffee. It must be said that this is probably a taste thing as opposed to cafeeine addiction thing since the process to remove caffeine usually changes the taste in ways still perceptible to the palate. I drink about 1-2 cups a day.

A study, reported in the JAMA and highlighted in BBCNEWS, found that caffeine is matabolised in the liver, via cytochrome CYP1A2. They're a slow metaboliser, causing them to break down caffeine too slowly and allowing it to accumulate in the blood stream. This seems to be associated with heart attack rates that could be as high as 64% (in those who drink 4 cups or more). The risk seems more evident in those who were less than 50 yrs. The heart attack/caffeine association is cups (dose) related.

What is also important is that CYP1a2 cytochrome also metabolise other drugs, giving rise to the possibility of drugs/caffeine interaction. It would be nice also to see the risk profile of those who drank 2-4 cups of coffee to see their risk profile. That was not told to us. Anyway, know for those who drink 1-2 cups, there should be no risk of this, whatever your caffeine gene be.

Therefore, with everything in life, do it in moderation. Even in drinking coffee.

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