A new longitudinal study on aging has reinforced the protective benefits of coffee including its cognitive and neuroprotective benefits. The study analyzed the data on 1,445 people between the ages of 65-84 and found that people without any health problems classified as cognitively normal had a lower amount of mild cognitive impairment, (MCI), when drinking moderate amounts of coffee, compared to people who never or rarely drank coffee.
Higher consumption of coffee was associated with a higher rate of mild cognitive impairment. For cognitively normal older subjects who changed their coffee consumption habits, those increasing coffee consumption (more than one 1 cup of coffee/day) had higher rate of the incidence of MCI compared to those with constant habits (up to -/+ 1 cup of coffee/day) (HR: 1.80, 95% CI: 1.11 to 2.92) or those with reduced consumption ( 2 cups of coffee/day) and the incidence of MCI in comparison with those who never or rarely consumed coffee (HR: 0.26, 95% CI: 0.03 to 2.11).
The researchers associate the protective benefits of coffee with the activation of adenosine A2A receptors (A2ARs), which might assist in mitigating damage done by beta-amyloid (the material that forms on the brains of people with Alzheimer’s). Previous human and mice studies have shown that moderate caffeine consumption can improve memory, while too much caffeine can give you the jitters and actually impair your memory. Coffee has been linked in the past to reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, which is a risk factor for cognitive decline.
“These findings… suggested that cognitively normal older individuals who never or rarely consumed coffee and those who increased their coffee consumption habits had a higher risk of developing MCI,” the authors said. “Therefore, moderate and regular coffee consumption may have neuroprotective effects… confirming previous studies on the long-term protective effects of coffee, tea, or caffeine consumption and plasma levels of caffeine against cognitive decline and dementia.”
“Larger studies with longer follow-up periods should be encouraged, addressing other potential bias and confounding sources, so hopefully opening new ways for diet-related prevention of dementia and AD,” the authors said.
Source: Solfrizzi V, Panza F, Imbimbo B, D’Introno A, Galluzzo L, Gandin C. Coffee Consumption Habits and the Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment: The Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 2015.