Increased coffee consumption may reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer's disease
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Consuming a higher amount of coffee may potentially reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, a new study has found.

Whether it be a morning flat white or a latte on the go, increasing your consumption of coffee has been discovered to be possibly linked to boosting cognitive health, mitigating the chances of Alzheimer’s disease. Novel research conducted by specialists from Edith Cowan University (ECU) investigated how coffee affected the rate of cognitive decline in over 2000 Australians throughout ten years, revealing promising results for coffee lovers.

Dr Samantha Gardener, the study’s lead investigator, said that the results demonstrated an association between coffee and various markers related to Alzheimer’s disease.

She said: “We found participants with no memory impairments and with higher coffee consumption at the start of the study had a lower risk of transitioning to mild cognitive impairment – which often precedes Alzheimer’s disease – or developing Alzheimer’s disease over the course of the study.”

The research, which is part of the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle Study of ageing, is published in Frontiers of Ageing Neuroscience.

Mitigating Alzheimer’s disease

The investigation signified that higher coffee consumption provided positive results correlating to specific domains of cognitive function, specifically executive function, which includes planning, self-control, and attention. Increased coffee intake was also linked to slowing the accumulation of the amyloid protein in the brain, a crucial aspect in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Although the researchers state that they need to conduct more comprehensive investigations to confirm their findings, the results are promising as they indicate that drinking coffee could be an easy way of delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Gardener commented: “It’s a simple thing that people can change. It could be particularly useful for people who are at risk of cognitive decline but haven’t developed any symptoms. We might be able to develop some clear guidelines people can follow in middle age, and hopefully, it could then have a lasting effect.”

More the merrier

The research suggests that it may be more beneficial to consume two coffees per day than one, although the study was not able to determine a maximum number of cups per day that provide the most efficacious effects.

“If the average cup of coffee made at home is 240g, increasing to two cups a day could potentially lower cognitive decline by 8% after 18 months,” Dr Gardener said.

“It could also see a 5% decrease in amyloid accumulation in the brain over the same time period.”

Additionally, the study was unable to distinguish between caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee or how the techniques in which it was prepared, such as brewing method and amount of milk and sugar, impacted its benefits on Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Gardener said: “We need to evaluate whether coffee intake could one day be recommended as a lifestyle factor aimed at delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Currently, the experts are unable to attribute what aspects of coffee appear to affect brain health positively. Despite caffeine being linked to the results, preliminary research shows it may not be the sole contributor to potentially delaying Alzheimer’s disease.

Crude caffeine is the by-product of decaffeinated coffee and has been displayed to be effective at partially preventing memory impairment in mice. Furthermore, other components of coffee, such as cafestol, kahweol, and Eicosanoyl-5-hydroxytryptamide, have been shown to affect cognitive impairment in animals in various studies.


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