Caffeine May Prevent Alzheimer's by Halting Tau Protein Growth

Several studies have shown that coffee offers protective benefits to our health with its high antioxidant rating. Now, another study has shored up the evidence that our morning cup of coffee is not just another beverage. Coffee may help protect the brain from Alzheimer's.

The study was jointly led by Dr. Christa E. Müller of the University of Bonn, Germany and Dr. David Blum of the University of Lille, France and published in the US journal Neurobiology of Aging. Their data revealed that caffeine prevented the growth of tau, a brain cell clogging protein associated with Alzheimer's disease, in mice models genetically modified to produce tau. The doses of caffeine used in the study are the equivalent of about two cups of coffee per day.

The genetically modified mice were given a dose of caffeine which amounted to 0.3 grammes per litre (which translates to about 0.005 ounces per pint) in their drinking water over a period of 10 months. The controls for the study were an identical group of tau modified mice that did not receive caffeine in their water. The mice that were given caffeine showed less growth of the Tau protein. This research team believes that their findings will eventually lead to a new class of drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

More good news about caffeine

Experiments have found that caffeine slows memory loss in mice bred to develop amyloid plaques, which are also associated with Alzheimer's disease. This research correlates with previous study results showing that older people are less likely to suffer cognitive decline if they drink regular though moderate amounts of caffeine.

Coffee culture

In modern U.S. culture, coffee has literally been raised to an art form, with baristas topping complicated coffee-based drinks with drawings that will disappear with the first sip of the brew. Few coffee drinkers, whether they buy their coffee at these high-end shops or perk it at home in a humble pot, are drinking coffee for its health benefits. For the most part, they drink it because they like the taste, because it's a comforting habit or for its invigorating kick.

It must be noted that there are people who should not have caffeine because of their bodies are extremely sensitive to it, they have an illness where the stimulant can have a negative effect or they are taking a medication where there could be an interaction. For these reasons, people with health issues should consult their physicians before ingesting caffeinated food or beverages.

Some people object to caffeine on grounds that it is a drug, which it is, albeit a drug that is found in coffee berries, dark chocolate (also high in antioxidants) and other foods.

Caffeine is also found in some over-the-counter drugs and prescriptions generally meant to treat pain. It's also available in high amounts in "sports drinks" that are meant to invigorate. Some of these drinks have levels of caffeine that are considered potentially harmful by health experts, especially if the drinks are abused. Most of us can, however, enjoy two or three cups of coffee a day while we reap the potential benefits to our brains as well as our sense of wellbeing.

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Paddock, C. (2014, April 8)
Scientists discover big clue to how caffeine wards off Alzheimer's. Medical News Today. Retrieved from

AFP RELAX News (2014, April 10). New study offers clues on how caffeine may protect the brain from Alzheimer's disease. New York Daily News. Retrieved from

Carol Bradley Bursack
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Carol Bradley Bursack

Carol Bradley Bursack is a veteran family caregiver who spent more than two decades caring for a total of seven elders. This experience provided her with her foundation upon which she built her reputation as a columnist, author, blogger, and consultant. Carol is as passionate about supporting caregivers work through the diverse challenges in their often confusing role as she is about preserving the dignity of the person needing care. Find out much more about Carol at