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Caffeine Won't Cause Irregular Heartbeats, Study Finds

So should we be having more coffee, tea and chocolate?

It may feel like coffee makes your heart beat faster, but one study suggests the caffeine in your drink isn't causing it.

According to research from the University of California San Francisco, drinking coffee, tea or eating chocolate regularly does not cause irregular (or extra) heartbeats.

The report, of course, challenges a common belief that caffeine not only causes the rhythm of your heart to change, but also leads to other serious heart problems.

“Clinical recommendations advising against the regular consumption of caffeinated products to prevent disturbances of the heart’s cardiac rhythm should be reconsidered, as we may unnecessarily be discouraging consumption of items like chocolate, coffee and tea that might actually have cardiovascular benefits,” said cardiologist and author Gregory Marcus in a statement.

Researchers tracked eating and drinking habits of 1,388 people (with the average age of 72) who were part of a larger heart study, NBC notes. Sixty per cent of participants said they drank a caffeinated product every day. In particular, Marcus and his team were interested in coffee, tea and chocolate.

The team was also tracking premature ventricular contractions and premature atrial contractions — types of "forceful" or extra beats that can feel like your heart skipped a beat.

Turns out, additional consumption of each caffeinated product did not result in extra heartbeats.

“This was the first community-based sample to look at the impact of caffeine on extra heartbeats, as previous studies looked at people with known arrhythmias,” author Shalini Dixit added in a statement. “Whether acute consumption of these caffeinated products affects extra heartbeats requires further study.”

However, this isn't to say caffeine doesn't have any side effects. While the Mayo Clinic suggests most healthy adults can consume up to 400 mgs of caffeine a day, Dietitians of Canada notes for some, caffeine can cause sleep disturbance, headaches and make them irritable and nervous. It has also been related to heart, bone and fertility issues.

Although more research has to be carried out in the area of caffeine and heart health, Marcus says this study, like many others, demonstrates more benefits than downfalls of drinking coffee regularly.


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