Wednesday, November 09, 2005

And then God made Cappuccino...

Mmmmmm, Coffee.  This study is now creating some doubt that caffeine is the culprit causing high blood pressure over time.

      Here's good news for women who love coffee: Drinking it doesn't seem to cause long-term high blood pressure, a study suggests.

      But for some reason, women in the same study who drank colas did seem to have a greater risk of high blood pressure. Researchers were surprised at that and cautioned the study wasn't conclusive.

      Caffeine is a well-known ingredient in both beverages, and has been shown to cause short-term increases in blood pressure. But coffee drinkers in the study were no more likely than abstainers to develop high blood pressure during 12 years of follow-up.

      Previous data on coffee and hypertension is mixed, but there's a common perception that its temporary effects on blood pressure mean an increased long-term risk, said Dr. Wolfgang Winkelmayer, the study's lead author and a researcher at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital.

      "We found strong evidence to refute" that belief, the researchers wrote.
      There was even some evidence that women who drank lots of coffee -- four or more daily cups of regular or decaf -- faced a slightly lower risk for developing high blood pressure than those who drank little or none.

      Winkelmayer said that may be because coffee has lots of antioxidants, substances which are thought to help protect the heart and reduce risks of cancer. He said it's unclear how sodas might increase blood pressure.

      The government-funded study is in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.
      Nutritionist Margaret Savoca whose work has linked caffeinated soft drinks with higher blood pressure in black teens, said she suspects caffeine explains Winkelmayer's results for cola drinkers.

      Sodium might also be a culprit, said Dr. William Frishman, chief of medicine at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, N.Y.

I wonder if people who drink coffee are more likely to be people who have lots of stress in their lives anyway (not caused by the coffee) and that led to the conclusion that coffee was the cause.

Caffeine is still thought to be an addictive chemical, though, so it’s not some all healing wonder drink now.  I can just see someone making that giant leap after a study like this.

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