You might be enjoying a cup of coffee while you read this. Many of us enjoy the ritual of a morning coffee or tea, a little pick-me-up to clear the fog from our morning brain. Caffeine perks you up, helps your heart, and, sure, gives you the jitters if you have too much, but did you know that it also helps regulate your cholesterol?
The bad cholesterol
LDL cholesterol is the kind that your doctor warned you about. It contributes to the buildup of fat in blood vessels, which narrows your arteries which can lead to an increased chance of heart attack and peripheral arterial disease.
The good news is that your good HDL cholesterol can carry your bad cholesterol away from your arteries and to the liver to be processed.
The bad news is that your liver also produces a protein labeled PCSK9 that protects your liver from getting too much cholesterol, keeping the bad kind in your bloodstream.
Caffeine to the rescue
In a recent study published in Nature Communications, researchers discovered that caffeine actually inhibits the secretion of PCSK9 proteins in the liver. They found that this led to a faster movement and disposal of LDL cholesterol from the blood which greatly reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke.
On their test subjects, the study’s authors found that 400mg of caffeine reduced participants’ PCSK9 levels by 25 percent after two hours. The control group participants who had no caffeine experienced no change in PCSK9 levels.
400mg of caffeine amounts to about four to five cups of coffee, and the research suggests that over 600mg of caffeine a day is what would significantly reduce your risk of a heart attack. It’s up to you to say how much coffee is too much, but if you’d like to maintain your five-cup-a-day regimen you can now say that it’s literally in the name of health.