Keeping high blood caffeine levels by drinking coffee was found to help at-risk adults over 65 to avoid the onset Alzheimer’s disease.
The study by Chuanhai Cao et al. was published online today ahead of publication in the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease.
Coffee: main caffeine source for study participants
The researchers monitored the cognitive status of 124 people aged between 65 and 88 displaying mild cognitive impairment (MCI), an early sign of the disease. Many participants were expected to develop Alzheimer’s within a few years.
No MCI patients with a blood caffeine level above 1,200 ng/ml developed the disease over a 2-4 year period. The main or only caffeine source for these individuals was coffee.
Study lead author and neuroscientist Chuanhai Cao, said: “These intriguing results suggest that older adults with mild memory impairment who drink moderate levels of coffee -- about 3 cups a day -- will not convert to Alzheimer's disease -- or at least will experience a substantial delay before converting to Alzheimer's,"
"The results from this study, along with our earlier studies in Alzheimer's mice, are very consistent in indicating that moderate daily caffeine/coffee intake throughout adulthood should appreciably protect against Alzheimer's disease later in life," he continued.
Reduced risk, but no complete protection
The researchers claim the study is the first to provide a direct link between caffeine/coffee intake and reduced Alzheimer’s risk or delayed onset.
“We are not saying that moderate coffee consumption will completely protect people from Alzheimer's disease," Cao continued.
"However, we firmly believe that moderate coffee consumption can appreciably reduce your risk of Alzheimer's or delay its onset."
Other coffee perks
In the past year alone, coffee has been linked to a series of health benefits.
In Feburary, NutraIngredients.com reported on a study that found high consumption of coffee could reduce the risk of advanced fibrosis in those with fatty liver disease.
Study: ‘High Blood Caffeine Levels in MCI Linked to Lack of Progression to Dementia ,’ Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 30 (2012) 559–572 DOI 10.3233/JAD-2012-111781
By Chuanhai Caoa, David A. Loewensteine, Xiaoyang Linc, Chi Zhangc, Li Wangc, Ranjan Duarae, Yougui Wuh, Alessandra Gianninid, Ge Baii, Jianfeng Caii, Maria Greige,, Elizabeth Schofielde, Raj Ashokc, Brent Smallj, Huntington Potterc,k and Gary W. Arendashd,