Patel it like it is: Is coffee actually causing heart palpitations?

ABC News medical contributor Dr. Alok Patel answers viewers' questions about coffee, multivitamins and CBD gummies.
5:08 | 03/24/23

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Transcript for Patel it like it is: Is coffee actually causing heart palpitations?
[MUSIC PLAYING] - Welcome back to ABC News Live. It is time for our weekly segment, "Patel It Like It Is" where ABC News contributor, Dr. Alok Patel, shares some health advice on the topics that matter most to you. And today, he's answering some of your questions. So Dr. Patel, what do we need to know? - Diane, one of my favorite parts of the entire week. Our first question is one that I ask myself not infrequently, a lot of people have asked. It comes in from Alana. I don't know what state Alana is in, but Alana represents all of us because she asks, is my coffee really the cause of my heart palpitations? Well, Alana, as I am holding my own cup of coffee, I will tell you that life experience and a lot of reputable websites will tell you that high amounts of caffeine can cause some heart palpitations in people, or funny feelings in your heart, but here's the reality. Research, multiple studies, including statements from the American Heart Association, will tell you that coffee should not cause a prolonged arrhythmia or weird sensation in your heart. And if you have this, you don't want to blame your coffee, but pay attention to some other signs of palpitations or other conditions that can cause this, such as stress, anxiety, exercise, alcohol, stimulants, including some that are over-the-counter or illicit drugs, and underlying medical conditions like infectious disease, even some thyroid or other endocrinology diseases. These are important. Don't blame your coffee for everything. And one other thing I have to mention. There are a lot of health headlines about the benefits of coffee. These are usually in studies involving 8 to 12 ounces of black coffee, and not those frappe-whatevers that are filled with whipped cream and a ton of sugar. So pay attention to what's in your cup. - So Dr. Patel, what do you think when people talk about things like, all in moderation, right? Are you in that camp? How do we respond to this? - Oh, it's I'm all about moderation when it comes to coffee. And the majority of studies do show that coffee is relatively safe, if you're having a few cups a day. And again, it all comes down to paying attention to what you can tolerate. If you have certain medical conditions, such as a preexisting arrhythmia, and you're worried, chat with your doctor before you dive into a fresh cup of brew. It's that simple. But now diving into things, Diane, let's dive into a multi-billion dollar industry with our next question, which comes in from Hillary in Los Angeles. And this is basically talking about multivitamins, and saying, who actually needs a multivitamin every single day? Well, I'm just going to be blunt here. The majority of healthy adults and children do not need a multivitamin every day. And I'm sorry to the multibillion dollar vitamin industry, which makes a lot of claims out there. There are some people who may need one, such as pregnant individuals, young babies, the elderly, people with certain nutritional deficiencies or conditions that cause poor absorption. Certain medications may also push you to needing a multivitamin. I will tell you, Diane, a study I reviewed about this specific question is called, literally saying, is called "enough is enough-- stop wasting your money on vitamins and minerals." And researchers at Johns Hopkins basically reviewed a bunch of studies and concluded that multivitamins do not reduce your risk long term of heart disease, cancer, early death, or even neurocognitive disease. It's better to pay attention to whole food and nutrition. If you have questions, talk to a health care professional or a nutritionist. And I got to say, this one might be a shock to a lot of people. But last question comes in from Jim in Saint Paul. And this is about a favorite topic, I know of yours, it's sleep. Asking about particularly about CBD or THC gummies. I have trouble falling asleep, and have thought about using THC or CBD gummies. Good idea or bad? Now simply put, a lot of research is being done in the CBD space. This, remember, is the non-psychoactive component of marijuana, unlike THC. There is some anecdotal evidence and some mixed results about whether or not this can actually treat sleep. But Diane, the big question is, are people taking CBD, are they treating things like chronic pain or anxiety, which then helps them fall asleep, rather than actually having it promote sleep to begin with? That's what people out there should be paying attention to is what's actually inhibiting their sleep. Do they have poor sleep hygiene, rather than jumping immediately to something like CBD. - There's also a lot-- there's interesting data on THC showing that people who said that they use THC in order to sleep better when tested objectively actually slept not very well at all. And after a brief what's called withdrawal insomnia, they then started sleeping better without the THC than they ever did to begin with. So sometimes these substances can be misleading and make you think that they're helping your sleep when it's actually the withdrawal that's hurting your sleep and you just have to get past it. So it's a complicated area. We definitely need more research there, Dr. Patel. - You nailed it. Sometimes just shutting your eyes at night does not actually mean that you're getting consistent restfulness. Diane, the expert herself, said it perfectly. - [LAUGHS] Dr. Alok Patel, so much more. We could talk about sleep for hours, as you know. We appreciate you, as always. And if you have questions for Dr. Patel, we do this every Friday. So leave him a message on our Instagram feed at ABC News Live, and he just might answer your question right here on the air.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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