Over the years, there has been a great interest in the topic of coffee and dementia.
Some studies reveal that it is possible to fight dementia with a cup of coffee. This may come as great news to individuals who need coffee to perk up their mornings.
Can coffee and caffeine reduce dementia?
An example of such a study is one that was conducted by Krembil Brain Institute in Canada.
Danish and Swedish researchers sought to find out if it is true that consuming coffee can lower the risk of dementia.
Too Much Coffee Is Not Good
There were 1409 participants in the study that were observed for 21 years. The researchers found that persons who drank 3-5 cups of coffee daily were less likely to develop dementia by 65% in comparison to the individuals who only took 2 cups or less.
Another study by Dr. Jonathan Geiger states that caffeine can help protect the brain by blocking damage that cholesterol causes hence reducing the risk of dementia.
This is after studying rabbits that were put on a fat-rich diet and were also given a caffeine supplement for protection.
He did this in a bid to investigate the blood-brain barrier an essential barrier between the main blood supply in the body and the brain.
Preceding studies reveal that high cholesterol levels in the blood create this barrier that might cause damage to the brain triggering the development of dementia.
The rabbits were on the diet for 12 weeks. Half of the animals were also on a supplement that is comparable to the caffeine amount that is present in a cup of coffee daily.
After the experiment, the researchers concluded that the blood-brain barrier in the animals on caffeine was more intact than in the rabbits that were not taking caffeine.
One more study seeking to explain the relationship between coffee and dementia was conducted by researchers in the United States of America. This uncovered that postmenopausal ladies who drink at least 2-3 cups or 261mg of caffeine daily.
They were at lower risk of developing cognitive impairment or dementia than the ones who consume less coffee.
Participants of this study were 6,467 women who were followed for a decade. In the end, it was revealed that the ladies taking more caffeine were at lower risk of cognitive functioning issues.
In this study consuming caffeine was based on a self-report meaning the decaffeinated drinks were not specified. It was assumed that all cola drinks, tea, and coffee were caffeinated.
The studies seeking to find out the relationship between coffee and dementia was also done on animals.
It was discovered that caffeine in animals lowers beta-amyloid plaque levels.
This is a biomarker that is associated with dementia.
Drinking coffee can help reduce vascular disease
Additionally, drinking coffee is also known to reduce the risk of vascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. These two are also common dementia risk factors.
In yet another study, researchers put caffeine in drinking water. They then fed it to transgenic mice that develop dementia-like symptoms where they reach around 8 months of age.
It was found that caffeine treatment reduced inflammation mediators. This also increased the levels of plasma of GCSF (granulocyte-colony stimulating factor).
The latter enhances the cognitive performance of the transgenic mice.
Worth noting is that the above studies on coffee and dementia are only observational.
This implies that they do not reveal causation as they only show correlation. Experts agree that coffee consumption may lower the risk of dementia but the beverage is not behind the decreased risks.
There is, however, a need for further evidence regarding the protective effect of coffee on dementia.
Researchers caution that there is still a need for more studies to confirm this theory.
Coffee and caffeine treatment for dementia?
Many experts are nonetheless optimistic that the findings may open up the possibility of the development of new dementia treatments. As well as dietary interventions that can modify dementia risk.
It is also important to mention that while studying coffee and dementia, some studies refute the claim that caffeine can prevent dementia.
These state that long-term caffeine consumption makes dementia symptoms worse.
Researchers from Sweden and Spain undertook one of the studies on normal aging mice as well as the ones that have dementia-like symptoms.
The results indicated that caffeine alters behavior in healthy mice and makes neuropsychiatric symptoms of mice even worse.
Furthermore, the experts explained that during the study, they discovered that caffeine has little benefit when it came to the memory and learning of rodents.
Even though many studies support the idea of coffee reducing the risk of dementia, it is not yet clear what the exact cause of dementia is.
This means that there is no clear way of preventing this illness.
Nevertheless, professionals advise on several things that you can do to reduce the risk.
These include reducing alcohol intake, quitting smoking, staying mentally active and physically fit. Lastly, it is important to consume a balanced healthy diet.