Coffee Jitters: Caffeine boosts predictor of heart problems | Science News


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Coffee Jitters: Caffeine boosts predictor of heart problems

7:34am, December 26, 2002

Whether it comes from coffee or another source, caffeine gives a troubling boost to one biological indicator of poor heart health, a new study suggests. Moreover, other ingredients in coffee appear to at least double the effect of caffeine alone.

Past studies have shown that drinking coffee can increase blood concentrations of the amino acid homocysteine, which has been associated with an elevated risk of heart attacks (SN: 1/11/97, p. 22). Meanwhile, quitting coffee can reduce blood concentrations of both homocysteine and artery-damaging cholesterol (SN: 9/22/01, p. 180: Even a little coffee may up heart risk).

Petra Verhoef of Wageningen University in the Netherlands and her colleagues set out to test whether caffeine is responsible for coffee's homocysteine-raising effect. Fo

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