How a daily dose of caffeine from your bean to cup coffee machine may delay Alzheimer’s
14th November 2014
Loaded with antioxidants and beneficial nutrients that can boost metabolism and rev you up like nothing else on the planet, coffee is nothing short of spectacular.
And while our experts at Strong Vend have always touted the benefits of the wondrous elixir brewed from our bean to cup coffee machines, it is only recently that scientists are figuring out that the black stuff is worthy of debate.
Some 18,000 studies have looked at coffee use over the past few decades, many of which have been fraught with contradiction. However, some medical experts claim that drinking the caffeine-laden beverage in moderate amounts can lower the risk of non-hormone responsive breast cancer, basal cell carcinoma (the most common skin cancer), prostate cancer, oral cancer, Parkinson’s, and Type II diabetes.
Most exciting, though, is the recent study that proves that the caffeine-charged brew from your bean to cup coffee machine is more than just a flavoursome pick-me-up. New research has revealed that caffeine from in coffee could lessen the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
As the most common type of dementia, Alzheimer's is the progressive and incurable brain disorder first identified by German neurologist Alois Alzheimer in 1906. Sufferers face severe memory loss, extreme confusion, problems with communication, difficulties with daily tasks, and mood changes - all of which develop gradually and worsen with time. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there will be 850,000 people with dementia in the UK by 2015.
The research, headed by Dr. Christa E. Müller of the University of Bonn and Dr. David Blum of the University of Lille, demonstrated that caffeine has a positive effect on tau deposits - the protein deposits that clog up the nerve cells in the brain and contribute to their degeneration.
These tau deposits, together with beta-amyloid plaques, are some of the characteristic features of Alzheimer’s. The scientists evaluated the effect of regular, persistent caffeine intake in mice bred to develop tau deposits similar to those seen in humans. The tau mice had caffeine in their drinking water at a concentration of 0.3 gms per litre. Another group of identical tau mice - the controls – had no caffeine.
The results, published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging, showed that the caffeine-drinking tau mice did not develop spatial memory impairments. This led the research team to believe that caffeine is an ‘adenosine receptor antagonist’, meaning that it blocks some receptors in the brain that contribute to the build of and entanglement of tau.
The team found “epidemiologic evidences support that habitual caffeine intake prevents memory decline during aging and reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease” and are therefore optimistic that drinking around two or three cups of coffee every day could be advantageous to sufferers.
It would be too bold a move for our experts at Strong Vend to presume the delectable brew from our bean to cup coffee machines is a cure-all - or even a sure-fire preventative for those affected by Alzheimer's. Nevertheless, this study does add weight to other emerging evidence that suggests a daily dose of caffeine may ward off this neurodegenerative disorder.
Here are three further studies that also highlight the benefits of caffeine from coffee:
By Michael Yassa, Assistant Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. Published in Nature Neuroscience in 2014.
Yassa and his team found that caffeine has a positive effect on long-term memory in humans. The research showed that the participants who given a 200-milligram dose of caffeine (around the amount in one large cup of coffee) could memorise a set of pictures far better than their non-caffeinated counterparts could. “We’ve always known that caffeine has cognitive-enhancing effects,” said Yassa. “We also know that caffeine is associated with healthy longevity and may have some protective effects from cognitive decline like Alzheimer’s disease”.
By Chuanhai Cao PhD, neuroscientist at College of Pharmacy at University of South Florida. Published in Journal of Alzheimer's Disease in 2012.
Cao and his team monitored the blood caffeine levels of 124 people aged 65 to 88 for a period of over two to four years. They found that those with mild cognitive impairment who had higher blood caffeine levels did not develop Alzheimer's disease within the timeframe, and scored better on memory tests. They also found that caffeine inhibits production of beta-amyloid - a protein that builds up in the brain of people with Alzheimer's. “These intriguing results suggest that older adults with mild memory impairment who drink moderate levels of coffee - about three cups a day - will not convert to Alzheimer’s disease or at least will experience a substantial delay before converting to Alzheimer’s,” said Cao.
By Shilpa Bhupathiraju and Dr Frank Hu, research fellows at the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. Published in Diabetologia in 2014.
The researchers highlighted the relationship between coffee and type 2 diabetes - thought to be a pre-curser to Alzheimer’s in approximately 70% of cases. The study showed that people who increased the amount of coffee they drank each day by more than one cup over a four-year period had a 11% lower risk for type 2 diabetes compared to those who made no changes to their coffee consumption. The study also found that those who decreased their coffee consumption by more than a cup per day increased their type 2 diabetes risk by 17%.
For more information, visit Alzheimer's Society (www.alzheimers.org.uk) – the leading care and research charity for people with this disease and other dementias.