Scientists identify how caffeine reduces bad cholesterol

2022-02-23 22:05:49
Scientists identify how caffeine reduces bad cholesterol

A new study has identified specific proteins that caffeine works on, which help the liver remove bad cholesterol from the bloodstream and protect against cardiovascular disease.

Several large-scale, long-term studies have revealed that coffee is good for you in various ways. One study tracked the coffee habits of more than half a million people across Europe for 16 years, and found that those who consumed the most had significantly lower mortality rates than those who abstained.

Other research has linked coffee to reductions in prostate cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease.

Observations are one thing, but scientists hadn’t identified many mechanisms for how compounds in coffee, particularly caffeine, might bestow these benefits.

So for the new study, researchers at Canada’s McMaster University investigated what might be behind caffeine’s apparent knack for preventing cardiovascular disease.

The team found that regular caffeine consumption was linked to lower levels of a protein called PCSK9 in the bloodstream. Lower levels of this protein boosts the liver’s ability to break down LDL cholesterol, the “bad” type that can block arteries and lead to cardiovascular disease.

Not only did caffeine and derivatives of it work directly on PCSK9, but the researchers found that it also blocked the activation of another protein called SREBP2. This in turn also reduces levels of PCSK9 in the blood.

Too much caffeine can also be a bad thing, and scientists aren't yet settled on how much is too much. All up, if improving your heart health is the goal, there are probably far more direct methods you could take.

But still, the new work adds to a growing body of research that suggests your caffeine habit may be marginally beneficial – or at least, not actively harmful.


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