New study results are suggesting that several cups of coffee each day could be all it takes to avoid Alzheimer’s, or even to reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s in people who have already been diagnosed with the disease.
The study, conducted by US scientists, showed that drinking five medium-sized cups of coffee each day might reverse memory problems that include Alzheimer’s disease. Five cups of coffee might sound like a lot, but it’s really equivalent to about two-and-a-half large-sized coffees or even less. And if you prefer drinking espressos, cappuccinos or lattes, an extra shot cuts down the total drinking amount down to only one cup.
That’s because the University of South Florida study, which tested the effects of caffeinated water and coffee in 55 mice, showed that the true benefit results from the caffeine in coffee. The exact amount of caffeine that they gave each mouse was 500 milligrams per day for two months. The mice originally showed memory impairment symptoms, but after two months of caffeine intake, their memory and thinking skills seemed to be on par with mice that never suffered from memory problems. At the time of publishing the study’s results, the scientists weren’t sure if the effects were permanent.
While it was unknown whether the same effect would be seen in people, previous studies had already shown that drinking coffee could delay Alzheimer’s and protect against vascular dementia. The new research led scientists to begin research on the idea that drinking coffee could possibly reverse some elements of memory impairment.
Though the research, at this point, is still speculation, the scientists do know that caffeine was able to cut down the amount of a dangerous protein most commonly found in the brains of dementia patients in the mice being tested. The protein, called beta amyloid, was reduced by 50 per cent in the brains of the mice. They also know that the inflammation in the brain of the mice, which mimics Alzheimer’s disease in humans, was reduced. Researchers hope that the effects will be the same on human patients.
A similar study by Finnish and Swedish researchers showed that middle-aged people who drank between three and five cups of coffee each day had a significantly lower risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s in the future. The researchers found that the study participants had a 60 to 65 per cent lower risk of developing memory problems about two decades later in life. They were unsure why the coffee seemed to create such great benefits, but thought that the strong antioxidants found in coffee, which are known to counter Alzheimer’s, might play a role in the phenomenon.
The health benefits of caffeine, as a result of drinking coffee, have been long tested and proven through numerous studies. This history of studies has shown that long-term caffeine consumption will reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, colorectal cancer and suicide.
Health officials prefer to say that coffee should be considered as having therapeutic effects, rather than a healing effect, as more studies need to be conducted before the full effects of coffee consumption are validated.