Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Coffee and endothelial function: a battle between caffeine and antioxidants?


Although coffee is largely consumed by adults in Western countries, controversy exists about its impact on the cardiovascular system. We recently demonstrated that caffeinated and decaffeinated espresso coffee have different acute effects on endothelial function in healthy subjects, measured using flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery. In this study, we measured the anti-oxidant capacity of two coffee substances in terms of free stable radical 2,2-diphenyl-1-picryl-hydrazyl 50% inhibition (I50 DPPH). The caffeinated coffee had a slightly higher anti-oxidant capacity than decaffeinated espresso coffee (I50 DPPH: 1.13±0.02 vs 1.30±0.03 μl; P<0.001). We suggest that the unfavourable effects observed after caffeinated coffee ingestion are due to caffeine and that the antioxidant activity is responsible for the increased FMD observed after decaffeinated coffee ingestion. Further clinical and epidemiological studies are needed to understand the chronic effects of coffee consumption on health.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1


  • Buscemi S, Verga S, Batsis JA, Donatelli M, Tranchina MR, Belmonte S et al. (2010). Acute effects of coffee on endothelial function in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr 64, 483–489.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Buscemi S, Verga S, Batsis JA, Tranchina MR, Belmonte S, Mattina A et al. (2009). Dose dependent effects of decaffeinated coffee on endothelial function in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr 63, 1200–1205.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Brand Williams W, Cuvelier ME, Berset C (1995). Use of a free radical method to evaluate antioxidant activity. Lebensm Wiss U Technol 28, 25–30.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Cimino F, Sulfaro V, Trombetta D, Saija A, Tomaino A (2007). Radical-scavenging capacity of several Italian red wines. Food Chem 103, 75–81.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Giovanelli G (2005). Evaluation of the antioxidant activity of red wines in relationship to their phenolic content. Ital J Food Sci 17, 381–393.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Klatsky AL, Koplik S, Kipp H, Friedman GD (2008). The confounded relation of coffee drinking to coronary artery disease. Am J Cardiol 101, 825–827.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Namdar M, Schepis T, Koepfli P, Gaemperli O, Siegrist PT, Grathwohl R et al. (2009). Caffeine impairs myocardial blood flow response to physical exercise in patients with coronary artery disease as well as in age-matched controls. PloS ONE 4, 1–6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Parras P, Martỳnez-Tome M, Jimenez AM, Murcia MA (2007). Antioxidant capacity of coffees of several origins brewed following three different procedures. Food Chem 102, 582–592.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to S Buscemi.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Buscemi, S., Batsis, J., Arcoleo, G. et al. Coffee and endothelial function: a battle between caffeine and antioxidants?. Eur J Clin Nutr 64, 1242–1243 (2010).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • coffee
  • antioxidants
  • caffeine
  • FMD

This article is cited by


Quick links