The prospect of developing dementia or Alzheimer's Disease are two of the most-feared health concerns people have. A recent study found a substance that may reduce a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's or dementia... and it's one that may surprise a lot of people.
Many people swear by their morning cup of coffee (or should we say their morning-to night cups of coffee — which may be taking it too far by the way — check with your health care provider if you’re really an extreme coffer drinker, we’d say).
It’s not surprising so many people love it. It tastes great. It helps us to wake up… it’s a part of our daily routine. But no matter how much you love it, you may love it even more when you hear about a benefit a recent study found it may provide.
If you’re a coffee lover, and you’re one of our regular readers, you likely know already that it’s linked to numerous health benefits. For those who may not know them, here are a few of them:
¨ Coffee can improve your mood
¨ Coffee is rich in antioxidants, which help to fight inflammation
¨ Coffee may help boost cognitive function
¨ Coffee can boost your metabolism
¨ Coffee may reduce your risk of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer
¨ Coffee may lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
¨ Coffee may improve circulation
¨ Coffee may help to protect your DNA
There are more… but just those above are reason enough to feel good about drinking coffee. Now, a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports gives adds yet another reason… the caffeine in coffee may have a protective effect against the development of dementia.
The very idea of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease, is something everyone
fears it seems. And with the rates of dementia accelerating as more and more baby boomers enter their “golden years” it’s understandable that concerns about losing their memory, increases. So, how could coffee protect people as they age?
For their study, researchers at Indiana University tested the effects of caffeine on an enzyme known as NMNAT2. This enzyme is known to have properties that help protect neurological function by shielding neurons from damage induced by stress.
NMNAT2 was also found by this team’s previous work to potentially help prevent tau proteins from forming into the plaques which are found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
The researchers tested the impact of caffeine on mice that had lower levels of NMNAT2. After receiving doses of caffeine, these mice were found to have the same levels of NMNAT2 as normal, unaltered mice. As to how that works—the mechanism for it — the researchers hypothesize that caffeine may help to protect certain pathways that help cells communicate, known as cAMP pathways, and thereby allowing greater response by the pathways to NMNAT2.
Although this was a mouse study, the new data adds to an existing body of literature that is increasingly supporting the protective role of caffeine and coffee in dementia.
While more research is certainly needed to confirm the caffeine-dementia connection, these results are certainly promising it seems to us lay people.
Many baby boomers — and adults of all ages — love coffee, and this research gives them another reason to drink it — and to feel good about drinking.