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Is There a Link Between Afib and Caffeine Consumption?

barista hands customer coffee in to-go cup

Caffeine is a stimulant that many rely on to get on the road in the morning or to keep us awake in the afternoon. For many years, clinicians suspected that the stimulative properties of caffeine would worsen heart arrhythmia. But recent research has debunked this. A long-term study in the UK, conducted over 12 years with upwards of 400,000 patients, showed no adverse effects of caffeine on arrhythmias. In fact, the data shows that caffeine consumption might be protective of the heart.

Some highlights of the study include:

  • Caffeinated ground and instant coffee (up to 5 cups per day) reduced the incidence of arrhythmias, while decaffeinated coffee had no effect.
  • All arrhythmia risk was lowest with 2-3 cups per day
  • Afib and Flutter risk was lowest at 4-5 cups per day
  • SVT, VT, and VF risk was lowest at 4-5 cups per day
  • All coffee subtypes, caffeinated and decaffeinated, had a protective effect on cardiovascular disease (congestive heart failure, stroke, and coronary heart disease) and overall mortality.

So, Should You Drink More Coffee or Start if You Never Usually Drink It?

While these studies show the potential protective mechanism of caffeine and coffee, it’s still unclear whether or how coffee or caffeinated drinks should be used in a therapeutic sense. If you choose to continue drinking caffeinated or coffee drinks or choose to begin doing so, it is vital that you mitigate the potential downsides of these drinks in other parts of your life.

  • First, caffeine is associated with poor sleep, depending on your consumption. Sleep is critical to our mental and physical health. If you consume caffeinated drinks later in the afternoon, consider stopping that habit to improve your nighttime routine.
  • Caffeine is also a diuretic, which promotes urine flow. If you don’t adequately hydrate, drinking caffeine can potentially worsen dehydration.
  • While caffeine does give you more energy; it should not replace the energy you receive from proper diet, exercise, and sleep.
  • This research also shows that the protective benefits seem to be reduced once you reach 5 or more cups a day. Be mindful of how much you drink.
  • Last but certainly not least, many caffeinated drinks contain fat or high sugar, which can be detrimental to your diet and weight maintenance. Highly caffeinated and highly sugared energy drinks can negatively affect your overall health.

Of course, we highlight these potential downsides of caffeine consumption because each can lead to conditions that cause health problems. Ultimately, your overall health can influence your cardiovascular health too. So, maintaining proper health through diet, exercise, and sleep is a great way to minimize the risk of Afib and other arrhythmias while feeling better day in and day out. And you can feel a little better about those coffees you drink every day too!


  • David Chieng, Rodrigo Canovas, Louise Segan, Hariharan Sugumar, Aleksandr Voskoboinik, Sandeep Prabhu, Liang Han Ling, Geoffrey Lee, Joseph B Morton, David M Kaye, Jonathan M Kalman, Peter M Kistler, The impact of coffee subtypes on incident cardiovascular disease, arrhythmias, and mortality: long-term outcomes from the UK Biobank, European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 2022;, zwac189,

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