Scientists have a new understanding of the protective effects of caffeine on the cardiovascular system. While its stimulant effects have long been characterized, a team of Canadian researchers have discovered how caffeine interacts with key cellular factors to remove cholesterol from the bloodstream.
On average, the habitual caffeine-consuming adult ingests 400 to 600 mg of caffeine daily – about two to three cups of coffee per day. Some recent population-level studies have shown that coffee and tea drinkers having that amount of caffeine have a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, but a biochemical explanation of this phenomenon has long eluded researchers, until now.
In a landmark study, researchers have discovered that caffeine is responsible for triggering a cascade effect that ultimately reduces LDL cholesterol in the blood – the so-called “bad” cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
The study team was led by Richard Austin and Paul Lebeau of the Hamilton Centre for Kidney Research at The Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton.