Your Morning Cup of Joe and Alzheimer’s Disease

man with cup of coffeeCan a cup of Joe help Alzheimer's patients?

We hear all kinds of things-both good and bad-about the affect caffeine can have on our bodies.  But can it help prevent Alzheimer's disease? Researchers at the University of Miami and the University of South Florida think it might.


Their findings were published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease this summer. They studied 124 people ages 65 to 88. Some of the participants in the study were believed to be in the early stages of memory loss. What they found was that those with lower levels of caffeine in their blood were more likely to develop dementia. The moderate coffee drinkers saw dementia delayed or prevented. For purposes of the study, they considered moderate caffeine use to be three cups of coffee per day.

So how can coffee help prevent Alzheimer's disease? Researchers aren't exactly sure yet why caffeine helps. Their working theory is that it keeps Beta-amyloid, one of the proteins found in the brain of people with Alzheimer's disease, from accumulating. It forces the body to keep metabolizing this protein, essentially blocking it from collecting in the brain.

As with most good things, however, physicians point out the negatives. While some research shows that caffeine can also help to reduce the risk of breast cancer, strokes and Parkinson's disease, there are some known dangers. Excessive caffeine use can contribute to cardiovascular disease. It can cause a rapid heartbeat, an irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure.

Bottom line on coffee? Most researchers say "drink up"! For most of us, they believe the benefits outweigh the negatives. If you'd like to read the study, you can find it here:

Are you addicted to your morning cups of Joe? What is your normal daily intake? 

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