Skip to content

Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

Drinking Coffee May Delay Alzheimer’s Disease

Study Adds to Growing List of Health Benefits Associated With Coffee
Font Size
A
A
A

Coffee May Lower Alzheimer's Risk continued...

"Beta-amyloid doesn't cause Alzheimer's," he says. "We are born with this protein in our brains."

So what goes wrong? This protein accumulates or aggregates in the brain because it is no longer sufficiently metabolized with advancing age. "Your system can't handle all of it and leftover protein accumulates in the brain."

Enter your daily cups of joe. "Caffeine inhibits the production of beta-amyloid, so your system only metabolizes all of the available protein," Cao says.

Put another way: There are no leftovers.

Coffee may have other important health benefits as well. Research has shown that it can reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and breast cancer.

Sam Gandy, MD, PhD, reviewed the new findings for WebMD. He is the Mount Sinai chair in Alzheimer's disease research at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

"There is some support for this observation," he says via email.

"There are basic science studies from our lab and from other labs showing that a substance called cyclic AMP can reduce formation of amyloid, and it is well known that caffeine elevates cyclic AMP levels."

What's more, "attention is a key component of memory, and it is well established that caffeine increases attention. Thus, it is conceivable that caffeine improves memory by virtue of its effects on memory."

But, Gandy adds, the jury is still out on how or if caffeine affects risk for Alzheimer's. "Before we can recommend any drug (even caffeine), we must test the drug in randomized clinical trials. That would be the obvious next step for the caffeine story."

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Remember your finger
When it’s more than just forgetfulness.
senior man with serious expression
Which kinds are treatable?
 
senior man
Common symptoms to look for.
mri scan of human brain
Can drinking red wine reverse the disease?
 
senior man
ARTICLE
daughter and father
ARTICLE
 
Making Diagnosis
Article
Colored mri of brain
ARTICLE
 
Close up of elderly couple holding hands
VIDEO
senior woman with lost expression
ARTICLE
 
Woman comforting ailing mother
ARTICLE
Alzheimers Dementia
ARTICLE