If you have a family history of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, chances are that you are trying to do everything that you can to avoid it. The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease published a special supplemental finding suggesting that caffeine may help to keep the brain functioning properly and help ward off Alzheimer’s and dementia. Here is information on what researchers are discovering about caffeine’s role in the brain and how it might protect you against memory problems:
• Key Research Findings: Research shows that caffeine seems to have a big effect on adenosine receptors, which are found in your brain cells. An imbalance of these receptors have been associated with neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers believe that regular consumption of caffeine protects against the loss of memory, especially among people who are under stress. One study of over 1,000 people 65 and older found that drinking three to five cups of coffee a day meant a 65 percent decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, compared to those who consumed little or no coffee.
• Applying Research to Prevention: Though there is no evidence that anyone can prevent Alzheimer’s disease, some doctors like Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD, the Tucson, Arizona-based founding president and medical director of the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation believe that there are many lifestyle factors that can have an important impact on the brain. “Nutrition, stress-management, exercise, mental stimulation, and possibly hormone therapy may all influence how healthy your brain is,” Dr. Khalsa says. “Caffeine is the next level out. Caffeine is a mild stimulant — we think stimulation is synonymous with a better-functioning brain,” he explains, but adds that “there’s no one magic bullet. Living a complete, healthy lifestyle is important for keeping your brain healthy.”
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