OBJECTIVE - To determine the association of coffee, decaffeinated coffee, caffeine, and tea consumption in young adulthood with the presence and progression of coronary artery calcified (CAC) plaque and carotid intima-media thickness later in life.
METHODS AND RESULTS - The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study is a cohort of 5115 white and black adults who were aged 18 to 30 years when they completed a baseline clinic examination from 1985 to 1986. Subsequent examinations were conducted 2, 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years later. After multivariable adjustment, no association was observed between average coffee, decaffeinated coffee, or caffeine consumption (years 0 and 7) and presence of CAC (score, >0 Agatston units at year 15 or 20), CAC progression (incident CAC at year 20 or increase in CAC score by ≥20 Agatston units), or high carotid intima-media thickness (>80th percentile, year 20). However, tea consumption displayed a nonsignificant trend for an inverse association with CAC (P=0.08 for trend) and an inverse association with CAC progression (P=0.04 for trend) but no association with high carotid intima-media thickness (P>0.20 for trend). Stratification of the coffee analyses by sex, race, or smoking yielded similar nonsignificant patterns.
CONCLUSIONS - We observed no substantial association between coffee or caffeine intake and coronary and carotid atherosclerosis. However, our results suggested an inverse association between tea and CAC but not carotid atherosclerosis.