Coffee consumption and coronary heart disease risk

Print this page

A group of Chinese researchers3 published in 2009 a meta-analysis of 21 prospective cohort studies on coffee consumption and coronary heart disease (11 studies from the USA, three from Sweden, two each from Norway, Finland and Scotland and one study from Denmark). This meta-analysis covered 407,806 participants and 15,599 new cases of coronary heart diseases over a median follow up of 12 years.

There was variation between the results of the individual cohort-studies e.g. among the 21 studies, two studies reported a positive correlation and two reported a negative correlation both for the group who drank 4-6 cups per day and for those who drank more than 6 cups per day. However, their overall evaluation did not show a statistically significant association between coffee drinking and the long-term risk of coronary heart disease. In addition, habitual moderate coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk in women.

Since then, three more prospective cohort studies about coffee and coronary heart disease have been published, in Sweden, the Netherlands and Japan.

  • The Dutch study4 covered 37,514 participants followed up for 13 years with 1,387 cases of coronary heart disease. For coffee consumption, a U-shaped association with slightly reduced risk for coronary heart disease was observed, with the lowest risk in the group consuming 2-3 cups per day.
  • The Japanese study5 had 37,742 participants followed up for over 10 years, and 426 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 2,454 deaths from all causes. They observed statistically significant inverse associations between coffee consumption and both mortality from all causes as well as mortality from cardiovascular disease in women. In men, no association with cardiovascular disease was seen.
  • The Swedish study6 assessed 37,315 male participants followed up for 9 years and 784 cases of heart failure. In this study, coffee consumption was not associated with incidence of heart failure, not even in the group consuming more than 5 cups per day.

Another Swedish study7, using case-control instead of the prospective cohort design and smaller in size (375 cases of first myocardial infarction), observed a statistically significant positive association only for filtered coffee in men. In women, no association reached statistical significance.

Taking all these studies together, the large majority find no association between coffee consumption and coronary heart disease. However, there is considerable variation between the studies, for both statistically significant negative and positive associations. Some recent studies observed statistically significant negative associations for women3,5. A U-shaped association has also been reported4.

This information is intended for Healthcare professional audiences.
Please consider the environment before printing.