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Unfiltered coffee may increase heart attack risk

A new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that some forms of coffee could have deleterious effects on cardiovascular health. Grubben and colleagues at the Agricultural University Wageningen in The Netherlands examined the effect of heavy consumption of unfiltered coffee on the levels of homocysteine in the blood. Patients with high concentrations of homocysteine are known to be at greater risk for stroke and heart disease. The authors specifically chose unfiltered coffee for their study in order to address the potential effects of diterpenes, substances known to raise homocysteine levels. Diterpenes are normally removed by filtering. Sixty-four healthy volunteers with normal homocysteine levels were asked to consume, each day for two weeks, six large cups of unfiltered coffee or another beverage in a crossover design. During coffee-drinking, both serum cholesterol concentrations and homocysteine levels increased by 10%.

The authors equated this 10% increase in homocysteine to a 10% overall increase in risk for heart attack or stroke. They concluded that while heavy coffee consumption is probably safe for the majority, individuals at risk of cardiovascular diseases should not drink large amounts of unfiltered coffee. Possible health effects with filtered coffee remain to be determined.


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Contact: Lorali Barber
Lbarber@ASCN.FASEB.ORG
301-530-7038
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
31-Jan-2000


Page: 1

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