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Does Coffee Prevent Alzheimer's?

Alissa Sauer
By Alissa SauerJanuary 2, 2017

Can’t live without your morning cup of coffee? New research shows that coffee may prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by reducing the amount of beta amyloid in the brain by as much as 50%.

Learn more from this latest study about caffeine’s brain boosting benefits.

Can Coffee Prevent Alzheimer’s?

A new study led by Dr. Abhishek Mohan at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, has concluded that coffee can reduce the levels of beta amyloid, a destructive protein commonly found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, by as much as 50%.

The study was completed on mice but its results suggest that caffeine and coffee may be helpful in ridding the body of beta amyloid in humans. These findings could be helpful in the search for new treatments to combat the disease.

While more research needs to be done before definitively concluding the positive effects of coffee on human brain health, the findings of this study are supported by past research which also show coffee can fight Alzheimer’s.

Rise of Beta Amyloid, Caffeine and Coffee Studies

Another study completed in 2014 found that people who drank more than three cups of coffee daily were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s, but only in the short term. Yet another study, one completed in 2012, found that drinking three cups a day could slow or stop the transition from mild cognitive impairment to dementia. Researchers believe that caffeine and coffee may delay the onset of symptoms, thus delaying a diagnosis.

Researchers from the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee — a nonprofit that examines the effects of coffee on health — believe the protective power of coffee may come from the caffeine and polyphenol content found in the drink.

Caffeine is thought to prevent the buildup of beta-amyloid, commonly thought to be a main cause of Alzheimer’s. Polyphenols have an antioxidant effect which reduces inflammation and may help protect the brain from age-related decline.

While many studies support the positive effects of coffee on brain health, it is worth noting that coffee can also raise blood pressure, which is a common factor in increasing the risk of stroke and cardiac arrest. As with most things, it is important to remember that moderation is the key to consumption.

Study Confirms a Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s for Coffee Drinkers

A new study published in the Journals of Gerontology and funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute found that women over the age of 65 who had a higher caffeine consumption had a lower risk of developing cognitive impairment, or Alzheimer’s and dementia.

While researchers caution that they have not been able to establish causation, their study found a strong relationship, suggesting that caffeine consumption may play a role in Alzheimer’s prevention.

The women who self reported drinking two to three eight-ounce cups of coffee or five to six eight-ounce cups of black tea (approximately 26 mg of caffeine daily), were 36% less likely to develop dementia during the 10 year follow up period.

Ira Driscoll, lead author of the study and a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, stated:

“While we can’t make a direct link between higher caffeine consumption and lower incidence of cognitive impairment and dementia, with further study we can better quantify its relationship with cognitive-health outcomes. The mounting evidence of caffeine consumption as a potentially protective factor against cognitive impairment is exciting given that caffeine is also an easily modifiable dietary factor.”

Can coffee prevent Alzheimer’s? Will you drink more coffee as a result of these studies? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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Alissa Sauer

Alissa Sauer

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