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March 8, 2006

Coffee-Gene Interaction Raises Heart Attack Risk

Topics: Medicine

"... coffee consumption increases the risk of MI only among individuals with a slow metabolizer genotype." - Researchers.

myocardial_infarction.jpg Caffeine is "the most widely consumed stimulant in the world" and has been implicated in the development of such cardiovascular diseases as acute myocardial infarction. However, the relationship between coffee drinking and heart attack has been confusing, and this study helps to clarify some to clarify the muddy picture of the coffee-heart risk interaction by showing that a certain genetic make-up may increase the risk.

According to researchers at the University of Toronto, people with a gene variant that causes slow metabolism of caffeine have a sharply elevated risk of a non-fatal heart attack if they drink large amounts of coffee. In a large case-control study, only those people who were slow to metabolize caffeine had an increased risk of non-fatal myocardial infarction when they drank large amounts of coffee, which points to the fact that we need to take into account not just how much caffeine we take in, but also how much stays in your system.

A qualifier to the apparent link of a slow metabolizer genotype and risk of myocardial infarction is that coffee contains a range of other chemicals, and is associated with other lifestyle factors that cloud the link between consumed caffeine and unwanted cardiovascular outcomes.

Currently, there is no commercially available test that can distinguish between the two genotypes studied. However, one implication of the study is that a single cup of coffee a day - 250 mL , is safe no matter what genotype is involved.

Read more on this...

See animation of myocardial infarction here.

Posted by Richard at March 8, 2006 3:07 PM

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