After a study suggests drinking coffee regularly is linked to a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, one researcher’s advice is quite clear: Drink coffee.
“Moderate daily consumption of caffeinated coffee appears to be the best dietary option for long-term protection against Alzheimer’s memory loss,” Dr. Gary Arendash said. “Coffee is inexpensive, readily available, easily gets into the brain, and has few side-effects for most of us. Moreover, our studies show that caffeine and coffee appear to directly attack the Alzheimer’s disease process.”
Arendash is a co-author of a study by researchers at the University of South Florida and the University of Miami that found caffeine or coffee intake is linked to a reduced risk of dementia, or at least delayed onset.
The study involved 124 people 65 and older who showed early signs of the disease, called mild cognitive impairment. Each year, about 15 percent of those with MCI are expected to develop full-blown Alzheimer’s, the researchers say.
Blood caffeine levers at the beginning of the study were lower in participants who progressed to Alzheimer’s, in a two- to four-year followup.
“We found that 100 percent of the MCI patients with plasma caffeine levels above the critical level experienced no conversion to Alzheimer’s disease during the two-to-four year follow-up period,” Arendash said in news release.
“These intriguing results suggest that older adults with mild memory impairment who drink moderate levels of coffee — about 3 cups a day — will not convert to Alzheimer’s disease — or at least will experience a substantial delay before converting to Alzheimer’s,” said study lead author Chuanhai Cao, a neuroscientist at the University of South Florida.
And because the changes in the brain caused by Alzheimer’s begin years before cognitive impairment is detected, the researchers suggest drinking caffeinated coffee for long-term protection.
The researchers said they believe the higher caffeine levels indicate regular coffee consumption. Their findings, based on blood immune markers, also indicate coffee was the main source of caffeine for the study participants.
The findings were published this week in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Citation: Thoms, Sue. “Drink coffee to reduce Alzheimer’s risk, scientists recommend.” http://www.mlive.com/health/index.ssf/2012/06/scientists_recommend_drinking.html