Life Long Consumption of 3-5 Cups of Coffee Lowers Alzheimer’s Risk by 20 Percent

Ana de Barros, PhD avatar

by Ana de Barros, PhD |

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According to the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC), a nonprofit organization that specializes in biomedical research and information dissemination on the health benefits of coffee, people who drink about 3 to 5 cups of coffee per day may be less likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease. The findings of this study were presented during the 2014 Alzhemier’s Europe Annual Congress in Glasgow last October 2014.

Experts predict the number of elderly Europeans aged 65 and older to increase from comprising 15.4% of the general population, to 22.4% by the year 2025. Unfortunately, this may ultimately mean a rise in the prevalence of diseases commonly found in older individuals, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, which is known to affect at least 1 out of every 20 elderly across the globe today.

According to the Alzheimer’s Europe session that featured ISIC’s publication, one’s nutrition has shown to play a significant role in the maintenance of cognitive function, particularly before Alzheimer’s disease symptoms manifest themselves. Food items identified to contain particularly beneficial nutrients in the prevention of cognitive decline are items in a Mediterranean diet such as fresh fruit, fish, vegetables, olive oil, and red wine. What these have in common is a high level of polyphenols, which scientists have found to be in substantial quantities of coffee.

According to ISIC’s findings, which were presented by Dr. Arfram Ikram, an assistant professor in neuroepidemiology at Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam, these polyphenols along with caffeine lend coffee its protective abilities against Alzheimer’s. Polyphenols help inhibit inflammatory processes linked to neural damage. Caffeine does the same, and has been noted in several studies to help inhibit the two hallmarks of this disease: amyloid plaque and neurofibrulary tangle formation. He concludes one can gain the most health benefits from coffee when consumed as much as 3 to 5 cups daily.

“The findings presented in this report are very encouraging and help to develop our understanding of the role nutrition can play in protecting against Alzheimer’s Disease,” said Dr. Iva Holmerova, the vice chairperson of Alzheimer Europe. “Coffee is a very popular beverage enjoyed by millions of people around the world and I’m pleased to know that moderate, lifelong consumption can have a beneficial effect on the development of Alzheimer’s Disease.”

A number of previous epidemiological findings have shown regular, life-long consumption of moderate quantities of coffee may reduce their chances of developing Alzheimer’s Disease by up to 20%. In one study, the protective effects were observed over a 4-year follow-up period, which gradually decreased with additional years.