• Cardio health and genetics play a role in the amount of coffee one drinks, researchers said in a new study
  • People with symptoms of high blood pressure and angina were less likely to drink coffee than those who did not exhibit symptoms
  • The body regulates and protects a person from drinking too much coffee, according to the researchers

A team of researchers from the University of South Australia has found that cardio health influences the amount of coffee one drinks.

In a study of 390,435 people, the team found that those who had symptoms of angina, high blood pressure and arrhythmia were less likely to drink coffee than those who did not exhibit any symptoms of the conditions. According to the researchers, this is likely caused by genetics.

Professor Elina Hyppönen said that this is a good finding because it shows the body's ability to self-regulate and protect an individual from consuming too much caffeine.

"People drink coffee for all sorts of reasons — as a pick me up when they're feeling tired, because it tastes good, or simply because it's part of their daily routine," the professor told Eurekalert.

"But what we don't recognize is that people subconsciously self-regulate safe levels of caffeine based on how high their blood pressure is, and this is likely a result of a protective genetic -- a mechanism," Hyppönen, who is the lead researcher in the study and director of UniSA's Australian Center for Precision Health, added.

This means that even when they are unaware of it, people subconsciously self-regulate and protect themselves from excessive coffee consumption because of the signals their bodies give them.

"What this means is that someone who drinks a lot of coffee is likely more genetically tolerant of caffeine, as compared to someone who drinks very little," Hyppönen continued. "Conversely, a non-coffee drinker, or someone who drinks decaffeinated coffee, is more likely prone to the adverse effects of caffeine, and more susceptible to high blood pressure."

The data acquired from the 390,435 people in the study indicated a relationship between coffee consumption and cardio health. The researchers did this by examining the habitual coffee consumption of the subjects and compared it with baseline levels of blood pressure and heart rate.

"Whether we drink a lot of coffee, a little, or avoid caffeine altogether, this study shows that genetics are guiding our decisions to protect our cardio health. If your body is telling you not to drink that extra cup of coffee, there's likely a reason why. Listen to your body, it's more in tune with your health than you may think," Hyppönen concluded.

The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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