Coffee has been associated with modestly lower risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality in meta-analyses; however, it is unclear whether these are causal associations. We tested first whether coffee intake is associated with cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality observationally; second, whether genetic variations previously associated with caffeine intake are associated with coffee intake; and third, whether the genetic variations are associated with cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality.
First, we used multivariable adjusted Cox proportional hazard regression models evaluated with restricted cubic splines to examine observational associations in 95 366 White Danes. Second, we estimated mean coffee intake according to five genetic variations near the AHR (rs4410790; rs6968865) and CYP1A1/2 genes (rs2470893; rs2472297; rs2472299). Third, we used sex- and age adjusted Cox proportional hazard regression models to examine genetic associations with cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality in 112 509 Danes. Finally, we used sex and age-adjusted logistic regression models to examine genetic associations with ischaemic heart disease including the Cardiogram and C4D consortia in a total of up to 223 414 individuals. We applied similar analyses to ApoE genotypes associated with plasma cholesterol levels, as a positive control.
In observational analyses, we observed U-shaped associations between coffee intake and cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality; lowest risks were observed in individuals with medium coffee intake. Caffeine intake allele score (rs4410790 + rs2470893) was associated with a 42% higher coffee intake. Hazard ratios per caffeine intake allele were 1.02 (95% confidence interval: 1.00-1.03) for ischaemic heart disease, 1.02 (0.99-1.02) for ischaemic stroke, 1.02 (1.00-1.03) for ischaemic vascular disease, 1.02 (0.99-1.06) for cardiovascular mortality and 1.01 (0.99-1.03) for all-cause mortality. Including international consortia, odds ratios per caffeine intake allele for ischaemic heart disease were 1.00 (0.98-1.02) for rs4410790, 1.01 (0.99-1.03) for rs6968865, 1.02 (1.00-1.04) for rs2470893, 1.02 (1.00-1.04) for rs2472297 and 1.03 (0.99-1.06) for rs2472299. Conversely, 5% lower cholesterol level caused by ApoE genotype had a corresponding odds ratio for ischaemic heart disease of 0.93 (0.89-0.97).
Observationally, coffee intake was associated with U-shaped lower risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality; however, genetically caffeine intake was not associated with risk of cardiovascular disease or all-cause mortality.