How Coffee May Cut Alzheimer's Risk

Coffee consumption in moderation linked to lower Alzheimer’s disease risk


Drinking moderate amounts of coffee now may help your brain later.

People who drink moderate amounts of coffee over their lifespans could potentially reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by up to 20 percent, according to a new report from the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee.

AD is the most common form of dementia, affecting about 5 percent of all people older than 65 and around 26 million people worldwide. Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life.

“At present, there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s Disease as the death of brain cells during the development of the dementia cannot be halted or reversed,” the authors wrote. “This means that primary prevention is very important as a means of delaying or halting the onset of age-related cognitive decline.”

This report was a compilation of findings presented at Alzheimer Europe's annual conference in 2014, as well as new research in the area of coffee consumption and AD.

This report suggested that life-long moderate caffeine consumption — defined as between 3 and 5 cups per day — can reduce the risk of AD, especially in the elderly, by up to 20 percent.

The caffeine found in coffee seemed to be the active agent in fighting AD. Caffeine helps to prevent the buildup of beta amyloid peptides (the protein involved in amyloid plaque development) and slows the process that creates neurofibrulary tangles, which are two hallmarks of AD.

In addition, coffee consumption was linked to short-term protection against AD due to the way caffeine stimulates the central nervous system. Caffeine was also found to reduce inflammation and decrease the deterioration of brain cells in the hippocampus and cortex (areas of the brain associated with memory).

This study was published Sept. 21 by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee.

Funding sources and conflicts of interest were not available at the time of publication.