Cardiovascular health

Coffee consumption and coronary heart disease risk

The majority of studies on coffee and coronary heart disease (CHD) found no association between coffee consumption and coronary heart disease. However, there is considerable variation between the studies, for both statistically significant inverse and positive associations. Some studies observed statistically significant inverse associations, particularly for women10,11. A U-shaped association has also been reported12.

Meta-analyses have suggested there is either no association between CHD and coffee intake; or a potential protective effect:

  • A 2009 meta-analysis of 21 prospective cohort studies on coffee consumption and coronary heart disease showed variation between the results of the individual cohort studies, with two studies reporting a positive correlation, and two a negative correlation both for the group who drank 4-6 cups of coffee per day and for those who drank more than cups per day10. However, the overall evaluation did not show a statistically significant association between coffee drinking and long-term risk of coronary heart disease. In addition, habitual moderate coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk in women.
  • A meta-analysis published in 2013 suggested a small protective effect (5% risk reduction) of coffee consumption on CHD².
  • A 2014 meta-analysis of 36 studies with 1,279,804 participants and 36,352 CVD cases concluded that coffee consumption was associated with small reduction in CHD risk. The authors suggested an 11% risk reduction at lower coffee intakes (1.5 cups per day) and a 7% risk reduction at higher coffee intakes (5 cups per day)5.

A number of studies have considered coffee and coronary heart disease, also suggesting overall that there is no association with CHD, and indeed in some cases a protective benefit was observed at moderate coffee intakes:

  • A Japanese study followed 37,742 participants over 10 years, with 426 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 2,454 deaths from all causes. The study observed statistically significant inverse associations between coffee consumption and both mortality from all causes as well as mortality from coronary heart disease in women. In men, no association with coronary heart disease was seen11.
  • A Dutch study followed 37,514 participants over 13 years with 1,387 cases of coronary heart disease. For coffee consumption, a U-shaped association with slightly reduced risk for coronary heart disease was observed, with the lowest risk in the group seen at 2-3 cups per day12.
  • A Swedish study assessed 37,315 male participants over 9 years with 784 cases of heart failure. In this study, coffee consumption was not associated with incidence of heart failure, including those consuming more than five cups per day14.
  • A further Swedish study, using case-control instead of the prospective cohort design and smaller in size (375 cases of first myocardial infarction), observed a statistically significant positive association but only for filtered coffee in men. In women, no association reached statistical significance15.

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