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Hypothesis regarding those with afib getting depressed (unrelated to medical causes)
This article raises an interesting question in my mind.
"A cup of tea contains between 30 and 90 mg of caffeine. Drinking four or more cups a day may help with depression. In a cross-sectional study involving over 500 men and women aged 20-68 years, researchers found that greater consumption of green tea was linked to a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms." [Source: https://www.mdlinx.com/internal-medicine/article/3354]
If we extrapolate from that research, could cutting out caffeine to decrease afib symptoms also be responsible for some people with afib getting depressed? This is just a hypothesis. Thoughts? (This has nothing to do with clinical depression from medical causes.)
Jeanamo815, February 2, 2019 12:40pm EST
That is an interesting idea, Mellanie. It does make sense that when a person who is accustomed to drinking a lot of caffeine suddenly has to stop, that there would be some type of withdrawal symptoms. But I think it is a bit of a stretch to connect the lack of consuming tea to depression in people with a-fib. This study seemed to focus on green tea which does have some proven healthy benefits. There is little doubt that giving up caffeine completely can require an adjustment period for coffee and tea drinkers (or for those who drink energy drinks). I think the depression that is common among those of us with a-fib relates more to the nature of the disease than to a lack of caffeine in our diet. This is not to say that green tea does not have some healthy benefits. I wish that it were a simple solution to just drink more green tea and the depression would "go away". That would certainly cause a "run" on the green tea market! We still have to consider the fact that too much caffeine can trigger a-fib or other heart arrythmias in some people...and that seems to be the reason we are most often advised to monitor the amount of caffeine we consume. There seems to be so many "pros and cons" about drinking coffee and tea, that one does not know what to believe. Thanks for sharing this interesing information with us!
Patio7, February 2, 2019 10:55pm EST
I don’t have much doubt that there is a relationship. I no longer drink any caffeine as it seems to trigger afib as well as add to my essential tremor, since I no longer can take the beta blocker I took for years for it. About ten months after being diagnosed with afib and aflutter I admitted that I was agani experiencing depression , which I hadn’t had in years. I actually tried a cup of coffee here and there or tea and yep, it was easier to get out the door and live my life. So now with the advice of my therapist and primary physician I am back on antidepressants which I had happily left behind some years ago. It’s not perfect but I am no longer descending, and some days are just fine. I honestly believe if I could have my coffee in the morning, and tea late afternoon, I could dump the antidepressant but between afib and tremors it is not possible.
BethClark, February 3, 2019 10:24am EST
In my opinion, anyone who has a significant medical problem that wacks out their life--whether aFib or anything else--is a good candidate for depression. My experience as been that as the impact of my medical problems lessened, and I was able to get back to normal life, I was able crawl back out of the depression. Until then I was drinking lots of tea (with caffine until my aFib diagnosis) and was on anti-depressants but was still depressed. It's pretty hard to feel good about your life when you don't feel well.
Patio7, February 3, 2019 10:40am EST
Good point Beth. I think the lack of control one experiences with any long term illness/ condition leads to depression. I just read a medical study that claims as elders begin to have sleep issues they feel lack of control over their lives and experience more depression. Another good reason to do whatever one can to get a good night’s sleep. So many factors!
MellanieSAF, February 4, 2019 10:02am EST
We are typically told by our doctors to avoid caffeine because it triggers afib, but many, many people find that caffeine is unrelated to their afib and not an issue.
There has been anecdotal evidence in the afib patient community that afib patients can drink organic coffee, just not non-organic, so there is some thinking that it might be the pesticides rather than caffeine.
Additionally, caffeinated beverages can be dehydrating (diuretics), so staying hydrated seems to help avoid caffeine being an issue.
Thus, some have had success with drinking organic coffee (decaf or regular) and staying hydrated.
We're each different, and our afib is different, so it is important to have discussions around things that we are told can be a problem, but may not be for everyone.
Teagal, February 6, 2019 4:24pm EST
Having been involved in tea as a food writer and a speaker at many symposiums discussing it, I will say that no matter whether it is green, black, oolong ,red, yellow or white, all tea has osme healthadvantages. Given that, not everyone can tolerate caffeine, so some should avoid it or moodify the amount they consume. I like the research in the link Mellanie posted about it helping depression. Although I am not normally given to depression, having my tea every day does help keep me happy. So does having fresh watermelon daily too, so I'm not sure about how all that works. The watermelon is probably because I simply like the stuff, it does help keep blood pressure in check, and is otherwise an excellent food.
I do drink some decaf tea, but only frpm premium tea suppiers, none of the groceryy shelf stuff. I have become a tea snob, as we are known in the trade, about my tea.
My heart tolerates tea.
depotdoug, February 7, 2019 12:51pm EST
I place my vote on Ginger Herbal tea types. No caffeine I thnk but a bunch of calming down Ginger root. I do not know what it is with the Ginger Tea but it acts as an anti-depressant with me. So therorhetically I should be able to have one cup caffeinated tea or coffee and the one Ginger Tea to offset the effect of caffeine on my HR Rhythm.
But I can absolutely tell when I've drank one, no two glasses of Lipton instant tea or Cold Brewed Ice Tea. My depression goes aways quickly but my HR increses exponentially. I do love to drink diet A&W Rootbeer, no caffeine it says on the bottle, but I wonder what all the exotic ingredients they say are on the label are doing to my body. I'll try and exercise those ingredients off tonight.