A Cup of Joe Each Day Keeps Alzheimer's Away?

Caffeinated coffee may fight off Alzheimer's

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Coffee may offer a protective benefit against Alzheimer’s disease that other caffeinated drinks don’t—and now researchers are closer to figuring out why.

In a study using mice bred to develop Alzheimer’s-like symptoms, scientists at the University of South Florida discovered that an ingredient in coffee interacts with caffeine to fight Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers concluded that this interaction only happens in caffeinated coffee, not in decaf coffee or other caffeinated beverages.

"Drinking coffee daily may prevent Alzheimer's disease."

This recent research shows caffeinated coffee causes an increase of a substance called GCSF, which is greatly decreased in patients with Alzheimer’s, said neuroscientist Dr. Chuanhai Cao, lead author of the study. In the mice studied, only caffeinated coffee had this effect—not caffeine alone or decaffeinated coffee.

Earlier studies in humans found that coffee and caffeine intake in older age decreases Alzheimer’s risk, but this recent study isolated caffeinated coffee as most effective.

The researchers haven’t yet identified the unknown ingredient in coffee that helps create the protective effect, but are hoping to find it so it could be added to coffee and other beverages.

The scientists also found that long-term treatment with coffee enhanced memory in the mice with Alzheimer’s symptoms.

Moderate daily coffee intake starting at middle age (30s to 50s) may be best for protecting against Alzheimer's, the researchers said.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 22, 2011
Last Updated:
June 23, 2011