New studies show that caffeine may reduce inflammation in the brain, preventing memory loss.
Dr. Jennifer Ashton, who appeared on the Early Show discussed the findings from studies recently preformed on mice over a period of two months. “Researchers gave the equivalent of 500 milligrams of caffeine per day to little lab mice, who have been induced to have the same kind of memory changes we see in Alzheimer’s disease, and they found a very positive effect on their memory and thinking actions over a two-month period. So put another one in the column of a good effect of caffeine,” she explained.
So how much would a person have to consume to expect the same results? About 5 medium cups of caffeinated coffee a day. “It looks like a lot, but it’s important to realize that now, when we go to a deli or a Starbucks, this could actually be just the equivalent of 2 1/2 large or Grande cups of coffee a day. While it’s a little bit more than most people have in the morning, it’s actually not such an excessive amount,” Ashton said.
So, how does it work? “Their thinking is that actually the caffeine worked by decreasing the inflammation in the brain, cuts down on the buildup of protein we see in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s disease.”
“People are affected by Alzheimer’s. While it’s important to remember that caffeine is a drug, this is something that’s readily accessible in our environment practically. It’s in people’s day-to-day, and something that can have an effect like this is very important and very encouraging.”
Ashton notes that some caution is advised. Caffeine is a drug, and can be associated with increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, jitteriness, palpitations and dehydration.
“For people who have irregular heart beats, hypertension, women who are pregnant or those who are sensitive to the effects of caffeine, coffee, tea or soda should be consumed in moderation.”
You can read about this study in the July 5th issue of Journal of Alzheimers Disease