A new study from Brazil has found that coffee drinkers who quit drinking caffeinated filtered coffee cut their blood levels of cholesterol and the protein homocysteine.High levels of both substances are known risk factors for heart disease. Some of the compounds, called terpenoids, are known to increase cholesterol levels.
Lead author Dr. Hannson Right, of Marylandl University Hospital ,US, explained that "it is not only unfiltered coffee, but notably normal filtered coffee affects cholesterol and homocysteine.""If your cholesterol or homocysteine level is above normal and you are a heavy coffee drinker you should consider reducing your consumption of coffee.
In the study, the researchers evaluated blood samples from 222 non-smoking coffee drinkers between the ages of 25 and 70. The otherwise healthy volunteers were randomly split into three groups. One group consumed no coffee, another drank between 1 and 3 cups of coffee per day and the third group drank more than 4 cups of coffee each day.The study period lasted for 8 weeks and each participant gave blood samples at the beginning of the study, after 4 weeks and at the end of the study period.
After 8 weeks, participants who refrained from drinking coffee showed a 12% decrease in homocysteine levels. Quitting cut total cholesterol levels by 0.31 millimoles per liter, a weaker effect than seen in previous studies. The findings "indicate that the terpenoids that cause an elevated concentration of total cholesterol are only partly removed by a coffee filter," the researchers report.Dr.Right, speculates that coffee consumption may interfere with the body's ability to keep homocysteine levels in check, possibly by inhibiting the action of the vitamins folate or B6.