Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Moderate coffee consumption may promote brain health — and it’s not because of caffeine

How Cof­fee May Pro­tect Brain Health: A New Study Sug­gests The Ben­e­fits Aren’t Just From Caf­feine (Forbes):

Cof­fee has been get­ting con­sid­er­able atten­tion for a grow­ing list of health ben­e­fits, with brain health high among them. While not with­out a few down­sides, stud­ies have shown impres­sive upsides of mod­er­ate cof­fee con­sump­tion, often linked to its high caf­feine con­tent. But a new lab study sug­gests that when it comes to brain health, cof­fee offers more than the stim­u­lat­ing effects of our favorite legal drug–in fact, decaf could be just as effec­tive

The researchers added that most like­ly it’s a com­bi­na­tion of com­pounds that pro­vides the biggest ben­e­fits from drink­ing cof­fee, but the results indi­cate that phenylindanes—present in both caf­feinat­ed and decaf cof­fee (slight­ly more in dark roasts)—could be cen­tral to its neu­ro­pro­tec­tive effects.…“What this study does is take the epi­demi­o­log­i­cal evi­dence and try to refine it and to demon­strate that there are indeed com­po­nents with­in cof­fee that are ben­e­fi­cial to ward­ing off cog­ni­tive decline,” said study co-author Dr. Ross Manci­ni. “The next step would be to inves­ti­gate how ben­e­fi­cial these com­pounds are, and whether they have the abil­i­ty to enter the blood­stream or cross the blood-brain bar­ri­er.”

The Study:

Phenylin­danes in Brewed Cof­fee Inhib­it Amy­loid-Beta and Tau Aggre­ga­tion (Fron­tiers in Neu­ro­science). From the abstract:

  • Cof­fee con­sump­tion has been cor­re­lat­ed with a decreased risk of devel­op­ing Alzheimer’s dis­ease (AD) and Parkinson’s dis­ease (PD), but the mech­a­nism by which cof­fee may pro­vide neu­ro­pro­tec­tion in humans is not ful­ly under­stood. We hypoth­e­sized that com­pounds found in brewed cof­fee may elic­it neu­ro­pro­tec­tive effects by inhibit­ing the aggre­ga­tion of amy­loid-beta (A?) and tau (AD) or ?-synu­cle­in (PD). Three instant cof­fee extracts (light roast, dark roast, decaf­feinat­ed dark roast) and six cof­fee com­po­nents [caf­feine (1), chloro­genic acid (2), quinic acid (3), caf­fe­ic acid (4), quercetin (5), and phenylin­dane (6)] were inves­ti­gat­ed for their abil­i­ty to inhib­it the fib­ril­liza­tion of A? and tau proteins…While the neu­ro­pro­tec­tive effect of cof­fee con­sump­tion is like­ly due to a com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors, our data sug­gest that inhi­bi­tion A? and tau aggre­ga­tion by phenylin­dane 6 (formed dur­ing the roast­ing of cof­fee beans, high­er quan­ti­ties found in dark roast cof­fees) is a plau­si­ble mech­a­nism by which cof­fee may pro­vide neu­ro­pro­tec­tion. The iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of 6 as a dual-inhibitor of both A? and tau aggre­ga­tion is note­wor­thy, and to our knowl­edge this is the first report of the aggre­ga­tion inhi­bi­tion activ­i­ty of 6.

The Study in Context:

There is lit­tle doubt that drink­ing that morn­ing cup of cof­fee will like­ly increase alert­ness, but the main ques­tions that research is try­ing to answer go beyond that. Basi­cal­ly: is there a sus­tained, life­time, ben­e­fit or harm from drink­ing cof­fee reg­u­lar­ly?

The answer, so far, con­tains good news and bad news. The good news for cof­fee drinkers is that most of the long-term results are direc­tion­al­ly more pos­i­tive than neg­a­tive, so no clear harm seems to occur. The bad news is that it is not clear so far whether caf­feine has ben­e­fi­cial effects on gen­er­al brain func­tions, either short-term or long-term (aged-relat­ed decline or risks of demen­tia).

It is impor­tant to note that many of the stud­ies show­ing an effect of cof­fee con­sump­tion on brain func­tions or risks of demen­tia report a cor­re­la­tion or asso­ci­a­tion (they are not ran­dom­ized clin­i­cal tri­als). As you know, cor­re­la­tion doesn’t prove cau­sa­tion: cof­fee drinkers may seem to do well in a num­ber in these long-term stud­ies, but there may be oth­er rea­sons why cof­fee drinkers do bet­ter.”

Leave a Reply...

Loading Facebook Comments ...

One Response

  1. Paige Jirsa says:

    Awe­some arti­cle! Just anoth­er rea­son to drink cof­fee!

Leave a Reply

Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Health & Wellness

Tags: , , , , , ,

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

Search in our archives

Follow us and Engage via…

RSS Feed

Watch All Recordings Now (40+ Speakers, 12+ Hours)