Effects of Habitual Coffee Consumption on Cardiometabolic Disease, Cardiovascular Health, and All-Cause Mortality

James H. O'Keefe, MD; Salman K. Bhatti, MD; Harshal R. Patil, MD; James J. DiNicolantonio, PHARMD; Sean C. Lucan, MD, MPH, MS; Carl J. Lavie, MD


J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013;62(12):1043-1051. 

In This Article

Coffee and Clinical Considerations

People who consume coffee typically do so on a daily basis, often due to caffeine dependence. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, and its regular use typically causes mild physical dependence as evidenced by the development of tolerance, withdrawal symptoms (headaches, irritability, fatigue, depressed mood, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating), and cravings with abstinence.[70,71] Notwithstanding, daily caffeine use generally does not threaten one's physical health and emotional/social well-being the way that many addictive drugs like alcohol, opiates, cocaine, and methamphetamines do; thus, substance abuse experts generally do not consider caffeine dependence a serious addiction.[70] Indeed the tendency for coffee to promote habitual daily consumption may ultimately turn out to be advantageous if its myriad potential health benefits are confirmed.

Caffeine, in moderate daily doses of ~300 mg, or ~3 cups of coffee, appears to be safe and harmless for healthy adults. Conversely, ingesting 10 times that amount of caffeine in a short period could be lethal.[72] Moderation, tending toward 2 or 3 to as much as 4 cups a day if tolerated, seems a reasonable suggestion.