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  • Coffee Drinking and LDL Cholesterol Oxidation

    One of the critical points of atherosclerosis (coronary heart disease) is the oxidation modification of LDL cholesterol. It is well known that LDL cholesterol that has been oxidized has many impacts on coronary heart disease ranging from beginning lesions right through to plaque ruptures. However it is thought that it is very unlikely that LDL cholesterol is able to circulate in the body in a fully oxidated state due to the bodies natural defence mechanisms. With this in mind Natella and colleagues took a look into if the consumption of coffee was able to have an impact upon the way that LDL is oxidised.

    Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease

    Many things are known to have an impact upon the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, one of the main impacts being lifestyle. People who exercise regularly and eat a nutritious diet that is rich is fruit and vegetables have a lower risk of having heart disease. One of the main reasons that eating vegetables has such a positive impact is due to their antioxidant properties. This results in the LDL cholesterol that is in the plasma bloodstream being less likely to be oxidized.

    Coffee Consumption Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

    It has been widely reported that drinking coffee leads to an increase in chlorogenic acids such as caffeic acid in the plasma. These acids have been shown to inhibit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in humans. As the consumption of coffee leads to an increase in the amount of the antioxidant capacity of the plasma it is thought that drinking the beverage may lead to a lowering of the incidence of atherosclerosis. Interestingly though the relationship between chlorogenic acids and the lowering of the ability of LDL to be oxidised has been shown in the lab it has not be proven in life.

    To further investigate the link between coffee cholesterol levels and consumption Natella and colleagues decided to investigate the incorporation of phenolic acids that are contained in coffee into humans, and to evaluate if drinking coffee could lower the redox potential of LDL cholesterol. Their findings on the link between coffee and cholesterol and oxidation of LDL cholesterol can be found here.


    Happonen et al (2004) Coffee drinking is dose dependently to the risk of acute coronary events in middle-aged men. J Nutr 134:2381 to 2386.
    Hu (2003). Plant-based foods and prevention of cardiovascular disease: an . Am J Clin Nutr 78: 544S to 551S.
    Natella et al (2007). Coffee drinking induces incorporation of phenolic acids into LDL and increases the resistance of LDL to ex vivo oxidation in humans. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 86: 604 to 609
    Steinberg (2006). The pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. An interpretive history the cholesterol controversy, part IV: the 1984 coronary primary prevention trial ends it―almost. J Lipid Res 47:1–14.