Coffee Can Boost Blood Flow: Study

Coffee Can Boost Blood Flow

Many studies tout the benefits of drinking coffee—how it could potentially lower your risk of type 2 diabetes and improve gut permeability—and on Tuesday, nationally-syndicated radio host John Tesh added to that list of benefits. He tweeted on how caffeine acts a natural pain reliever and can help boost blood flow.

A previous study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions suggests that caffeine aids the heart by making small blood vessels work more efficiently (which could explain why coffee lovers have less cardiovascular issues).

For the study, researchers took heart rate, blood pressure, and vascular resistance (basically the resistance that has to be overcome to thrust blood through the cardiovascular system). Blood samples were taken to analyze caffeine levels and to rule out the role hormones play on blood vessel functioning.

The study involved 27 healthy adults and revealed that drinking caffeinated coffee (one cup) considerably improved blood flow in a finger—sounds minute, but this is a good measure of how well the inner lining of the smaller blood vessels work.

Study subjects who drank one cup of caffeinated coffee had a 30 % blood flow increase over 75 minutes compared to subjects who drank decaf.

Research even shows how caffeine affects blood supply to the brain.

A study published in Human Brain Mapping looked at the effects of caffeine on cerebral blood flow (blood supply to the brain)—specifically pertaining to increasing levels of chronic caffeine use. The various levels observed:

  • Low (45 mg of caffeine/day)
  • Moderate (405 mg of caffeine/day)
  • High (950 mg of caffeine/day)

Study participants either received 250 mg of caffeine or a placebo; they underwent  MRIs at four different times (two times in a caffeine ‘abstinent’ state and twice in a caffeinated condition (following their normal caffeine use).

Cerebral blood flow was analyzed and researchers looked for a correlation between cerebral blood flow and caffeine use. They discovered that in the abstained placebo state, moderate and high caffeine users had greater cerebral blood flow than low caffeine users.

American Heart Association, “Coffee may help perk up your blood vessels,” EurekAlert web site, November 20, 2013,
Addicott, M. A., “The Effect of Daily Caffeine Use on Cerebral Blood Flow: How Much Caffeine Can We Tolerate?” Human Brain Mapping, 2009 Oct; 30(10): 3102–3114. doi:  10.1002/hbm.20732.