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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Caffeine

I have been reading a book entitled Caffeine Blues which is all about the harmful effects of caffeine and coffee. But the book is rather one-sided so I decided to read another book, The Caffeine Advantage which not surprisingly is all about the benefits of caffeine and coffee and tea. But neither book does much to address both sides of the issue. The latter does discuss some of the sleep-disturbance potential of caffeine (as well as its ability to "cure" jet lag). But it doesn't mention homocysteine. As any nutritionist can tell you, coffee raises homocysteine and you don't want that to happen since it can lead to heart attack and stroke.1 (Tea apparently does not raise homocysteine in most people.)2

References
  1. Helga Refsum, Eha Nurk, A. David Smith, Per M. Ueland, Clara G. Gjesdal, Ingvar Bjelland, Aage Tverdal, Grethe S. Tell, Ottar Nyg√•rd, and Stein E. Vollset. 2006. “The Hordaland Homocysteine Study: A Community-Based Study of Homocysteine, Its Determinants, and Associations with Disease.” J. Nutr. 136:1731S-1740S, June. (Accessed Feb 26, 2009).
  2. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 77, No. 4, 907-911, April 2003. “Can black tea influence plasma total homocysteine concentrations?” Jonathan M Hodgson, Valerie Burke, Lawrence J Beilin, Kevin D Croft and Ian B Puddey. But see, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 73, No. 3, 532-538, March 2001. “Consumption of high doses of chlorogenic acid, present in coffee, or of black tea increases plasma total homocysteine concentrations in humans.” Margreet R Olthof, Peter C Hollman, Peter L Zock and Martijn B Katan. (Accessed Feb 26, 2009). This study based its tea conclusions on feeding people 4 grams of black tea solids.

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