Alzheimer’s disease is a result of nerve cell death and tissue loss in the brain. As it progresses, the brain tissue continues to shrink leading to greater mental decline (1).
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s begin with difficulty recalling new information, but advancement of the disease produces harsher symptoms like disorientation, changes in behaviour, confusion about time and events, problems swallowing, walking and even speaking.
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia with almost one person in twenty over 65 years of age suffering from the ailment. Early onset of the disease, starting around the age of 40, is also possible but the odds are much better with the chances of less than one person in a thousand getting the disease under the age of 65. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, the medication available can only slow down the progression of the disease and delay the inevitable, allowing sufferers to maximize function and independence.
Considering the fact that 26 million people in the world are afflicted with Alzheimer’s, with the numbers expected to rise as the European Union over 65 population increases from 15.4% to 22.4% by 2025, there is an urgent need to find a cure or prevention.
Over the years, there has been significant evidence showing that caffeine in coffee offers protection against Alzheimer’s disease. One 2012 study took into consideration evidence from human and animal models that implicated protective role of caffeine against Alzheimer’s.
The results of the study linked caffeine with lower risk, or delay in dementia onset, especially in individuals with minor cognitive impairment. A twenty-five year follow-on study comprising of 716 Finnish men linked reduced coffee intake with metal disability.
According to a report released by Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee in November 2014, researchers have established a link between regular coffee consumption of just three to five cups and a reduction of 20% in developing dementia. An earlier study also confirmed this, as reported in the Daily Telegraph (2)(3).
Research suggests certain antioxidants in coffee might provide the beneficial effects of averting or at least delaying the onset of the disease. Furthermore, scans of patients with Alzheimer’s show an accumulation of the proteins beta-amyloid and tau in the brain. Caffeine is a competitor of adenosine receptors, which means that it impedes the brain’s receptors which add to build-up of tau, thus helping to delay Alzheimer’s.