“We are not saying that moderate coffee consumption will completely protect people from Alzheimer’s disease,” Dr. Cao cautioned. “However, we firmly believe that moderate coffee consumption can appreciably reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s or delay its onset.”
Following a ground-breaking study, Dr. Cao and his colleagues suggest older adults with mild memory impairment who drink moderate levels of coffee are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease.
Even more astonishing is the finding that this protection probably occurs even in older people with early signs of the disease, called mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. People with MCI already experience short-term memory loss and have initial Alzheimer’s pathology showing in the brain. Each year about 15% of MCI patients would be expected to progress to later-stage Alzheimer’s. “We found that 100% of the MCI patients with caffeine levels above the critical level experienced no conversion to Alzheimer’s disease during the two-to-four year follow-up period,” said study co-author Dr. Gary Arendash.
The researchers believe the caffeine reduces brain levels of beta-amyloid, the abnormal protein thought to cause Alzheimer’s development. Dr. Cao explains because Alzheimer’s starts in the brain several decades before it is diagnosed, the sooner protective therapy starts the better. He believes moderate daily consumption of caffeinated coffee is the best current option for long-term protection against Alzheimer’s memory loss.
Moderate consumption is estimated at about 3 cups of brewed coffee per day. It is not known if instant coffee would give the same results.
Coffee is inexpensive, easily crosses into the brain, is readily available, and has few side-effects for most people.
Not only is coffee good for your brain! A study tracking the health and coffee intake of more than 400,000 older adults for 13 years published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that coffee drinkers reduced their risk of dying from heart disease, lung disease, pneumonia, stroke, diabetes, and infections.
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 Cao, C. et al. (2012). High Blood Caffeine Levels in MCI Linked to Lack of Progression to Dementia. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Vol. 20. No. 3.