Improved endothelial by consumption of coffee
Ikaria, Majestic Island of the Eastern Aegean, where people live notably longer lives than anywhere else. The island where numerous scientists look to when searching out the answers to longevity.
The association of coffee consumption with cardiovascular disease remains controversial. Endothelial function is associated with cardiovascular risk, according to the study’s abstract.
Dr. Gerasimos Siasos, MD, PhD, MSc, Department of Cardiology, Hippokration’ Hospital, Department of Biological Chemistry, University of Athens Medical School, along with his research team set out to investigate the link between chronic coffee consumption and endothelium function in elderly inhabitants of the island of Ikaria. The endothelium is a layer of cells that lines blood vessels, which is affected both by aging and by lifestyle habits (such as smoking). The team aimed its efforts at coffee due to recent studies that suggest moderate coffee consumption could slightly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and may have a positive effect on several aspects on endothelium health.
From a sample of 673 Ikarians aged over 65 who lived on the island permanently, the researchers randomly selected 142 elderly subjects (aged 66–91 years) of the Ikaria Study. Medical staff used health check (blood pressure, diabetes, etc.). Endothelial function was evaluated by ultrasound measurement of flow-mediated dilation (FMD). Coffee consumption was evaluated based on a food frequency questionnaire and was categorized as ‘low’ (< 200 ml/day), ‘moderate’ (200–450 ml/day), or ‘high’ (> 450 ml/day).
The research team examined all types of coffee consumed by participants and found over 87% of the participants consumed boiled Greek coffee daily, with 40% having low consumption followed by 48% moderate and 13% high coffee consumption. Consumption of Greek coffee was linked to better endothelial function without any negative effect on blood pressure.
In their conclusion the researchers write “Chronic coffee consumption is associated with improved endothelial function in elderly subjects, providing a new connection between nutrition and vascular health. “
In closing Dr. Siasos states "Boiled Greek type of coffee, which is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants and contains only a moderate amount of caffeine, seems to gather benefits compared to other coffee beverages.”
The new study provides a new connection between nutritional habits and cardiovascular health. Given the extent of coffee drinking across the world, and the fact that even small health effects of at least one type of coffee could have a large impact on public health, this study provides an interesting starting point. However, further studies are needed to document the exact beneficial mechanisms of coffee on cardiovascular health.
This new study appears in Vascular Medicine.