Coffee and Black Tea Increase Cardiovascular Disease Risk.




American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) of 1998, Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the single leading cause of death in America.1 There are many predictor risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, the lack of physical activity, diabetes, and cholesterol and lipid levels. Recent studies have also indicated that elevated plasma homocysteine levels are also a predictor of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.2

Because high intakes of coffee have been associated with elevated plasma homocysteine levels a group of researchers decided to take a closer look at this possible link to learn more about the effects of coffee drinking. The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, focused on chlorogenic acid, a major polyphenol found in coffee and black tea. The average coffee drinker who consumes around three cups per day would consume almost 1 gm of chlorogenic acid daily. In this cross over study, 20 healthy men and women were followed to determine whether consuming high levels of chlorogenic acid had any effect on their homocysteine levels. The subjects were given 2 gm of chlorogenic acid, 4 gm black tea solids and a placebo daily. Each subject received 4 treatments for 7 days in random order.

The results indicated that total homocysteine in plasma collected 4-5 hours after supplement intake was 12% higher after chlorogenic acid and 11% higher after black tea than after the placebo. The authors concluded that “ Chlorogenic acid,a compound in coffee, and in black tea raises total homocysteine concentrations in plasma.” This finding led the researchers to believe that chlorogenic acid could be linked to the higher homocycteine levels found in coffee drinkers.3


1. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (NHANES III, 1998-94), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Health Statistics.
2. Hankey GJ, Eikelbloom JW. Homocysteine and Stroke, Curr Opin Neurol.2001 Feb;14(1):95-102.
3. Margreet R Olthof, Peter C Hollman, Peter L Zock and Martijn B Katan- Consumption of high doses of chlorogenic acid, present in coffee, or of black tea increases plasma total homocysteine concentrations in humans1,2,3 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 73, No. 3, 532-538, March 2001.