There’s no doubt coffee gives you the boost you need to get going whenever you need it. Coffee is no longer considered a standard morning drink for old people or Dads. Throughout the past few decades coffee has slowly evolved into a beverage for all ages, with hundreds of different flavors to satisfy every palate. No matter your reason for drinking coffee, there are other ways it affects your brain than just giving you a quick wake-up or keeping you trucking through a long night-shift.
Studies have shown that drinking coffee can have tremendous effects on your cognitive health. Possibly one of the most astounding finds on the effects of coffee on the brain come from studies published in both the Journal of Neuroscience and The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The study published in the Journal of Neuroscience was titled ‘Caffeine protects Alzheimer’s mice against cognitive impairment and reduces brain beta-amyloid production’, took place at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute in Florida, and was published in 2006. During the study, mice affected with Alzheimer’s were given caffeine in their drinking water, then they were studied for 6 weeks. These mice showed improvement in their memories, and appeared to have about the same cognitive function as the control group of mice that were not affected with Alzheimer’s.
People that are affected with Alzheimer’s have high levels of beta-amyloid proteins in their brains; the mice in the study also has high levels of these proteins. During the study it was shown that the caffeine reduced the levels of the proteins in the brain, leading to speculation that caffeine and coffee consumption could help people that have Alzheimer’s.
A more recent study was published June 28, 2012 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. This study suggests that there is an unidentified ingredient in coffee that has a reaction with the caffeine in the beverage, resulting in protection and possibly partial reversal of Alzheimer’s. The study took place at the University of South Florida and mice were used in this study as well.
The mice in this study were specifically bred to have symptoms that mimicked those of Alzheimer’s. The study set out to study the effects of coffee on Alzheimer’s, and found that there is a protection against Alzheimer’s that coffee can provide in a way that no other caffeine-containing beverage can. Previous studies and surveys had shown that people in middle and older ages that consumed at least one cup of coffee a day were less likely to have Alzheimer’s.
Researchers believe the key is that an ingredient in coffee/caffeine works to reduce the production of the beta amyloid proteins that are believed to be the aggregator for Alzheimer’s, but they still haven’t nailed down that essential ingredient.
This newer study also releases the results of the University of South Florida and University of Miami’s joint study of 124 different people that were between the ages of 65 and 88. These people were studied from 4-8 years. The study showed that those that had a higher daily caffeine consumption than the others were not as likely to progress to or to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s.
In the study on the mice, it was shown that caffeinated coffee leads to an increase in the blood of GCSF, or granulocyte colony stimulating factor. This find is important because GCSF is found to be greatly diminished in the blood of patients that suffer from Alzheimer’s. In the study GCSF was shown to help improve the memory of the mice affected with Alzheimer’s. When the study was released, clinical trials were ongoing at University of South Florida to study the effects of GCSF as a treatment for patients with mild cognitive impairment in helping to prevent full on Alzheimer’s.
As of the release of the study it isn’t known why or how caffeinated coffee leads to an increase of GCSF levels in the blood. Researchers are looking to figure out why this happens and how, and exactly how beneficial it is or can be for patients with Alzheimers of all stages.
It still is not too clear how or why coffee can impact the effects of Alzheimer’s, but it is exciting for researchers since there is no definite cure for Alzheimers yet.
Besides the cognitive benefits from coffee, there are other ways it can be great for your health. Coffee has also been shown to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, committing suicide, and developing liver cancer.