A recent study indicates that increasing coffee consumption at an older age can increase the risk of mild cognitive impairment as well. Even though coffee can be good for your brain, exceeding a certain limit can also be harmful. The paper was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The findings of the study suggest that healthy people who consistently increase their coffee consumption over time are more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment in comparison with people who drink only one cup of coffee per day or those who do not consume coffee at all. The authors of the study declared:
These findings… suggested that cognitively normal older individuals who never or rarely consumed coffee and those who increased their coffee consumption habits had a higher risk of developing MCI. Therefore, moderate and regular coffee consumption may have neuroprotective effects… confirming previous studies on the long-term protective effects of coffee, tea, or caffeine consumption and plasma levels of caffeine against cognitive decline and dementia.”
The participants in the study were part of the Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging and they had ages between 65 and 84. The researchers analyzed their coffee consumption habits for over three years. Overall cognitively normal participants who drank more than one cup per day were twice more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment.
Even though it is not entirely clear what makes moderate coffee consumption have neuroprotective effects, the researchers have some theories about it. Caffeine, which is the main compound present in coffee could be responsible for reducing the activity of adenosine A2A and thus reducing the damage represented by beta-amyloid. Beta-amyloid is a protein fragment which affects the brains of Alzheimer’s patients by impairing nerve cells communication.
It seems that previous studies conducted on animals have also proved that a certain amount of caffeine can reduce the activation of particular A2A receptors. The researchers concluded that further research is needed in order to determine how exactly coffee can protect against mild cognitive impairment. Extensive studies with longer follow-ups could deal with potential confounding sources and bias. Thus scientists could develop new ways for fighting Alzheimer’s disease and dementia simply by making dietary changes.
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