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  • Coffee Reduces the Oxidation Capability of LDL Cholesterol

    It is well known that eating a healthy diet and taking regular exercise can help to reduce the risk of many diseases and conditions. One of the way in which nutrition plays a role is through there antioxidant capacities. Many foods are known to have high anti-oxidant capacities, fruit, vegetables and tea (both green and black) are well known to be towards the top of the list in this regard.

    Coffee Cholesterol

    What of coffee? It is well known that coffee contain chlorogenic acids that are rapidly absorbed into the plasma upon consumption of the beverage. These acids have been shown in vitro to have an antioxidant capacity and to reduce the potential of LDL cholesterol to be oxidised; a state in which LDL is most harmful.

    It is therefore thought that the consumption of coffee may have positive impacts upon human health by lowering the ability of LDL cholesterols to harm the body; this in turn may lead to a decrease in the risk of contracting cardiovascular disease. To further investigate the link between coffee and cholesterol Natella and colleagues at the national research institute for food and nutrition in Italy investigated the redox potential of LDL with respect to phenolic acids found in coffee in humans.

    Findings of Research into the Relationship Between Coffee Consumption and the Oxidation of LDL Cholesterol.

    In the investigation ten volunteers were used, following a fast they consumed 200ml of filtered coffee. Blood samples were taken 30 minutes and one hour after coffee consumption and the concentration of LDL-, chlorogenic and other phenolic acids, and the redox status were measured.

    It was found that the most prevalent form of phenolic acid in coffee was caffeic acid and that a 200ml cup of coffee contained about 200mg of caffeic acid, 5mg of p-coumaric and 35mg of ferulic acid. The amount of coffee given to the subjects (equivalent to an 8 ounce cup of coffee) was enough to increase the resistance of LDL cholesterol to be oxidized by Cu(II) catalyzed reactions, however there was no difference in the proportion of LDL- following coffee consumption.

    Coffee Compounds are Incorporated into LDL Cholesterol

    One of the interesting findings of the study was that it was shown for the first time that phenolic acids from foods (such as those found in coffee) are incorporated into the LDL cholesterol of humans. Following alkaline hydrolysis there was a marked increase in caffeic, p-coumaric and feurlic acids; these peaked at about one hour after coffee consumption.

    It is therefore by the authors of the paper that the consumption of 8 oz (200ml) of coffee is able to improve the resistance of LDL to be oxidatively modified in humans, and therefore the phenolic acid component of coffee may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. However the authors also mention that other coffee components that were not analyzed in their study may have a negative impact upon human health. It is therefore seen that with regards to coffee cholesterol damaging effects can be controlled in a positive manner.

    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