My doctor is a flip-flopper.
He told me (Thomas Carroll) recently to stop taking a daily aspirin. He had previously recommended adding a baby aspirin to my regular medication regimen, given heart disease runs in my family. Now he says the opposite...
What's a guy to do?...
New research suggests aspirin benefits may not outweigh the risks (such as internal bleeding). For years, an aspirin regime has been standard practice to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Last fall, we started hearing about this change in thinking in mainstream medicine.
And last month, official guidance from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force ("USPSTF") suggests people over age 60 should not begin the daily regimen to prevent heart attacks and strokes. According to the USPSTF, the risks of aspirin outweigh the marginal benefits it offers.
But this probably isn't news to you...
Our own Dr. David Eifrig is not a flip-flopper. He has been telling readers for years that regular aspirin consumption might only benefit those at elevated risk of cardiovascular disease. Doc recently told us this right here in Health & Wealth Bulletin.
So back to my original question, "What are we to do in order to help avoid cardiovascular disease?" Well, you know all the normal stuff – exercise regularly, avoid saturated fats, eat more vegetables, and so on...
But a series of new studies has me excited...
I am an avid coffee drinker.
My regular consumption began before I was a teenager. My grandmother used to say it would "stunt my growth," but I didn't care. I've loved coffee as part of a morning routine ever since (and I'm 6 feet tall).
Three recent studies looking at coffee and cardiovascular disease were recently released. In fact, these are the largest studies on the subject ever completed. The data came from UK BioBank, a database with health information on more than 500,000 people.
And the results show drinking coffee isn't linked to cardiovascular disease, and it may even have health benefits. (Proving what Doc has said for years.)
The first study looked at nearly 383,000 people (both men and women) who had no known heart problems. Researchers found that two to three cups of coffee per day was associated with a 15%-20% lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease or heart rhythm problems compared with people who didn't drink coffee.
Another study debunked the myth that coffee causes atrial fibrillation (AFib). AFib happens when you get an irregular heartbeat. Basically, the upper chambers of your heart stop coordinating with the lower chambers.
And it can be deadly...
AFib means your heart isn't beating efficiently. As such, blood can pool up or form clots that then travel to your brain. About 20% of all strokes in the U.S. are caused by AFib. And it can increase the risk of heart attack, kidney disease, and even dementia.
For years, doctors feared that the "jitters" from caffeine could worsen AFib. But researchers noted that having two to three cups of coffee a day didn't increase the high risk of heart problems – especially AFib.
A third study dove deeper and looked at differences between ground versus instant versus decaffeinated coffee. It turns out that while decaf coffee didn't reduce the risk of arrhythmias (like AFIb), it did reduce the overall risk of cardiovascular disease.
What could be causing all these benefits?
Coffee beans contain over 100 biologically active compounds known to reduce inflammation, enhance metabolism, benefit insulin sensitivity, and help the gut to work better against fat absorption.
For example, both regular and decaf coffee contain antioxidants. The main ones are hydrocinnamic acids and polyphenols. What the antioxidants do well is fight off inflammation. Longtime readers know that inflammation not only damages our cells, but over time it causes diseases like heart disease, Alzheimer's, and type 2 diabetes.
At the end of the day, I don't care how it works – only that it does. My morning and post-lunch coffee bring joy to my life (and likely to many of you reading).
It's great to see these studies being conducted – on both coffee and aspirin. This knowledge only helps us to be better healthcare consumers.
So quit the aspirin and have another cup of coffee. It will do your heart well.
May 19, 2022