Caffeinated Coffee May Improve Blood Vessel Function

Dallas, TX—According to a recent study, caffeine from coffee may increase blood flow and improve small blood vessel function.

Presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2013, here, the research was conducted by a team led by Masato Tsutsui, M.D., Ph.D., cardiologist and pharmacology professor at the University of Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan. The findings add to many other studies that have shown coffee may lower the risk of dying from heart disease and stroke, and that larger arteries may benefit from high doses of caffeine.

The double-blind, crossover study, partially funded by the All Japan Coffee Association, included 27 healthy adults, ages 22–30, who did not regularly drink coffee. In addition, blood samples were taken to rule out the role of hormones in blood level function. Each participant was given either one 5-oz. cup of regular or decaffeinated coffee. The researchers then measured their blood pressure, heart rate, vascular resistance levels and finger blood flow, a measure of how well the inner lining of the small blood vessels are working. After a one-day washout period, the experiment was repeated with the other type of coffee, and measurements were taken again.

Results of the study showed slightly higher blood pressure and improved blood vessel function in those who drank the caffeinated coffee compared to decaf. Of note, heart rate levels were the same in both groups.

Tsutsui and his team are still unsure as to how caffeine aids in blood flow and vessel function, though they hypothesize it may reduce inflammation. 


Published in WholeFoods Magazine, February 2014 (online 1/10/14)