A German study – carried out last year – has disclosed that they were successful in altering a heart defect in mice by giving them caffeine. The heart defect is reportedly age-related, and was improved by doses of caffeine that would be equal to around four or five cups of coffee a day for humans. This study joins the ranks of several others which suggest that caffeine can repair or protect cells in the heart. While using coffee to treat heart problems is clearly not realistic, the belief that caffeine can cause heart problems is well and truly in doubt.
Beyond improving the function of heart and heart-related cells, the scientists involved in the German study examined the possibility that caffeine can adjust common effects of aging. To this end, they administered caffeine to 22-month old mice, and found that their mitochondria respiratory capacity was that of 6-month old mice.
Judith Haendeler – one of the two scientists who worked on the study - drinks six cups of coffee a day herself. When asked if she thought it might be a miracle cure, she was quick to point out that if you are trying to pursue a healthy lifestyle, no single aspect can ever do all the work. “If you hear about this study and decide to drink coffee but you do nothing else—no exercise, no proper diet—then, of course, this will not work,” she says. “You cannot simply decide, ‘Okay, I’m sitting here and drinking four, five or six cups of coffee and everything is fine.'”
At the very least however, evidence continues to mount against previous conceptions on coffee that have been taken for granted. Over caffeinating yourself isn’t advisable, and won’t be particularly comfortable, but enjoying several cups of ground coffee a day isn’t a typical health concern for an average, healthy adult.