A new study says coffee is good for the heart and you should drink plenty of it
Another one for the 'Is coffee good for you?' debate...
Coffee lovers, rejoice. Your daily routine may well pay off handsomely in the long run.
The 'is coffee good for you or not?' argument continues to rage, and likely will do so for many more years to come, but there's positive news for those who can't get enough of that caffeine hit.
A new study published in PLOS Biology contends that moderate amounts of coffee can boost the levels of a specific protein into the mitochondria of human heart cells.
This has an impact on the cells' level of performance, and can also see older cells perform as well as younger ones.
The study, conducted by biologists from Germany, used rats as test subjects and focused on the protein p27 - also known as CDKN1B - which influences the cell cycle.
Tests showed that older cells performed just as efficiently as younger ones, while artificial 'heart attacks' induced by the research team illustrated that rats with high levels of caffeine in their system appeared better at mobilising cells responsible for repairing and rebuilding damage.
What's more, the optimum dose for caffeine was the equivalent of around four cups of coffee per day, a figure that has been previously backed up by other focused studies.
This amount was given to older mice, with results showing their cardiovascular system functioning at a level more associated with younger mice.
Caffeine was also shown to have improved the heart health of pre-diabetic and obese mice.
"Our results indicate a new mode of action for caffeine," said study author Judith Haendeler, "one that promotes protection and repair of heart muscle through the action of mitochondrial p27.”
As for what this means for you, me, and any other human reading this?
Speaking to Scientific American, Haendeler admitted to drinking six cups of coffee per day, but preached both caution and moderation for those who may wish to follow her lead.
“If you hear about this study and decide to drink coffee but you do nothing else—no exercise, no proper diet—then, of course, this will not work,” she said.
“You cannot simply decide, ‘Okay, I’m sitting here and drinking four, five or six cups of coffee and everything is fine.'"