Give Your Brain a Mental Edge With Caffeine

By Timothy S. Collins

Drinking coffee during middle age may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and the risk of dementia in the elderly. Coffee drinkers at midlife have a lower risk for dementia or Alzheimer's later in life than people who drink little or no coffee at midlife. It is helpful to understand the brain chemistry involved in memory loss.

Alzheimer's disease, which affects more than 5 million Americans per year, is the most extreme form of memory loss. As baby boomers age, the numbers of Alzheimer's patients are expected to skyrocket, an ominous possibility. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease.

There are several theories about what causes Alzheimer's disease.

  • A 2009 study by Genentech, a biotechnology company in California, as reported in the Journal of Neuroscience, found that insoluble clumps of the Beta-Amyloid peptide appear in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.
  • The Beta-Amyloid peptide is typically considered neurotoxic because it is present in high levels and accumulates in plaques in the brain of Alzheimer's patients.
  • In normal brains, the Beta-Amyloid peptide is also present but in much lower levels.
  • The study found mutations in Amyloid's Precursor Protein (AAP) that have been linked to the disease.
  • APP is an integral membrane protein expressed in many tissues and concentrated in the synapses of neurons.
  • Although the study does not have definitive findings about what causes Alzheimer's, the scientific community is abuzz with the new research opportunities this APP theory offers for a possible future treatment and cure of the disease.
  • There are other theories which continue to be part of the research such as how neurotransmitters called acetylcholine impact the formation of memories.
  • A loss of this transmitter is believed to be a major factor in declining memory function because acetylcholine-producing nerve cells die off when Alzheimer's disease strikes.
  • When there is a deficit of acetylcholine, Alzheimer's disease causes a build-up of proteins in the brain. Scientists refer to these proteins as "plaques" and "tangles."

So, what are some of the practical protective steps we can take against the development of Alzheimer's disease?

  • Exercise. Avoiding tobacco and alcohol. Staying socially active. Engaging in intellectually stimulating activities. A healthy diet that includes caffeine. Why caffeine?
  • A daily dose of caffeine can help block the negative effects of high cholesterol which is linked to Alzheimer's disease.
  • A study in the Journal of Neuroinflammation, for example, showed that the amount of caffeine equivalent to even just one cup of black coffee a day can help protect the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB) from damage that occurred with a high fat diet.
  • The BBB is the specialized system of capillary endothelial cells that protects the brain from harmful substances in the blood stream, while supplying the brain with the required nutrients for proper function.
  • Caffeine, in fact, helps to bind the cells of the BBB tightly to each other so that unwanted molecules cannot cross into the central nervous system.
  • In addition, coffee is a super food when it comes to antioxidants.
  • Antioxidants reduce damage to body tissues and can help decrease the risk of many chronic diseases.

Obviously, check with your own physician regarding any medical conditions, treatments, diagnostics, pregnancy or special dietary plans for you. The health benefits of coffee are many and the research supports them. However, there is no need to delay drinking your coffee. In fact, there is evidence that you can derive some health benefits from caffeine.

Go ahead: enjoy a cup of Panama Boquete specialty coffee!

Timothy S. Collins
Article by Timothy S. Collins
Timothy ("Tim") S. Collins, the author, is called by those who know him "The Gourmet Coffee Guy." He is an expert in article writing who has done extensive research online and offline in his area of expertise, coffee marketing, as well as in other areas of personal and professional interest. Come visit the author's website:

© Copyright - Timothy S. Collins. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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