For Lower LDL, Skip the Decaf

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

A recent study from the Fuqua HeartCenter in Atlanta, Ga, shows that drinkingdecaffeinated coffee can actually raise aperson's level of low-density lipoprotein(LDL) cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterolassociated with cardiovascular diseaserisk. The results of the study were presentedat a meeting of the American HeartAssociation in November 2005.

The study, which was supported by theNational Institutes of Health, included 187volunteers randomly assigned to 3 groups:one group drank no coffee, one groupdrank 3 to 6 cups of decaffeinated coffee aday, and one group drank 3 to 6 cups of caffeinatedcoffee a day. All coffee was preparedin a specific way, and all subjectsdrank it black.

After 3 months, the researchers found nosignificant differences among the 3 groupsin most of the factors related to heart diseaserisk: body mass index, blood pressure,heart rate, total cholesterol, triglycerides,high-density lipoprotein (the "good" cholesterol)levels, insulin levels, and glucoselevels. Among those who drank only decaffeinatedcoffee, however, there was a significantrise in LDL levels and an increase inapolipoprotein B, a protein that may be aneven greater indicator of heart disease riskthan LDL alone. Researchers suggest that,in combination with diet, exercise, andweight loss, eliminating decaffeinated coffeefrom a patient's diet could lower LDLlevels by up to 30%.