Coffee with its caffeine, has been found to benefit small vessel blood flow, according to new research in the US.
Previous studies have revealed improvement in large artery function in association with caffeine consumption, as well as a reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.
Dr Masato Tsutsui, a co-athor of the report on the findings said: “Although microvessels regulate vascular resistance and tissue blood flow, and play an essential role in the circulatory system, no study has ever addressed the effect of coffee on microvascular function.”
The double-blind study included 27 healthy men and women aged 22 to 30 who were not coffee drinkers. Participants were given a five ounce cup of coffee that contained caffeine or one cup of decaffeinated coffee, and finger blood flow was measured via Doppler flowmetry, which evaluates microscopic blood circulation. Blood flow to the fingers is an indicator of small blood vessel endothelial function.
After two days, those who received coffee that contained caffeine were given a cup of decaffeinated coffee and participants who received decaffeinated were given coffee with caffeine, and blood flow was re-evaluated. Dr Tsutsui’s team found that blood flow increased by 30% over a 75 minute period among those who received coffee containing caffeine in comparison with those that received the decaffeinated beverage. There was no significant difference in heart rate observed between the two groups.
“This gives us a clue about how coffee may help improve cardiovascular health,” concluded Dr Tsutsui who is a cardiologist and professor in the pharmacology department at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan.
“If we know how the positive effects of coffee work, it could lead to a new treatment strategy for cardiovascular disease in the future.” “Our double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study demonstrated, for the first time, that caffeine contained in a cup of coffee ameliorates microvascular endothelial function in healthy individuals,” the authors conclude. “These findings may explain, at least in part, the association of coffee consumption with reduced mortality of cardiovascular disease.”