Can Coffee be Useful in Curbing Dementia?

Gracewell  |  October 26, 2016
Black coffee may be helpful for older adults worried about the risk of dementia.
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Black coffee may be helpful for older adults worried about the risk of dementia.

There is some scientific evidence that coffee may help ward of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. One recent study from the University of South Florida in America, for example, linked regular coffee consumption with a lowered risk of dementia. The Alzheimer's Society found that the true impact of these studies is hard to determine, but there is still mounting evidence that coffee has innate health benefits. Here's what you need to know:

The power of caffeine
In the USF study, a total of 124 individuals ages 65 to 88 were monitored over four years. It was found that individuals who exhibited signs of dementia consumed 51% less caffeine than their peers who did not. Other researchers have found similar results.

Unfortunately, because the people in the study were asked to self-report the amount of coffee they consumed and how often they drank the brew, the NHS stated it is important to be cautious when making sense of these claims. Importantly, coffee loaded with milk, cream or sugar may present other health issues, and even exacerbate dementia if consumed in excess.

Intriguing possibilities
Although it is important to take any promising headlines with a grain of salt, the Alzheimer's Society did report that there is still a good amount of scientific research that suggests coffee and caffeine may be effective in curbing dementia. Though coffee may not be able to eliminate the disorder entirely, many active agents in caffeine and coffee have been linked to better health among those living with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia.

Caffeine can inhibit inflammation in brain cells, which is a natural response to less oxygen and nutrients, both of which have been linked to dementia. In turn, the brain actually produces more norepinephrine and dopamine, both of which help make neural transmission smoother and more reliable.

In fact, some of the drugs used to treat the ailment use the same processes observed in the presence of caffeine. Black coffee has also been tied to other health benefits, and may be useful in preventing diabetes, Parkinson's disease and liver problems.