Alzheimer’s Disease is an awful malady that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. This is a disease that destroys the mind, often causing its victims to fail to recognize even their closest loved ones, making daily living nearly impossible without round-the-clock supervision. We have to wonder, given all of the benefits of caffeine, can coffee reverse Alzheimer’s disease in humans?
A study published by the University of South Florida in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease concludes that if human brains functioned the same as mouse brains, caffeine would be effective at reversing the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Let’s take a little deeper look at the study.
In the study, mice that were specifically bred to develop Alzheimer’s were given the caffeine equivalent of six shots of espresso every day or plain water.
Two months later, the mice who received the caffeine water performed better on memory tests, performed better in thinking drills, and displayed lower concentrations in the brain and blood of an abnormal protein that is directly related to the presence of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Dr. Kevin Kelly of the Allegheny General Hospital Neuroscience Research Center notes:
“I think … it’s really potentially exciting finding that the mice who are developing the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, which they would ordinarily, began to show improvements. The extension of what effects caffeine may have in humans really needs to be elaborated by really well-designed, comprehensive, controlled clinical studies.”
Reactions to the Study
Despite these hopeful results, people still remain skeptical about caffeine. In the context of this study, it still remains to be proven whether or not mouse brains are similar enough to human brains to elicit the same positive response to Alzheimer’s.
Many people would still choose not to drink coffee, mainly because they don’t like the taste, it makes them jittery, or causes problems sleeping at night. Some people do actually choose decaf (but not this guy). I don’t worry too much about whether can coffee reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s, I just drink it for the benefits of my workouts and my brain functions.
Others cite the potentially negative consequences of caffeine in individuals who have high blood pressure, chronic insomnia, high cholesterol, or other medical conditions that are worsened by the consumption of caffeine. Plus, it turns your teeth brown.
Let it be known that this study does not show, and certainly does not prove, that caffeine can prevent Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, it only suggests that caffeine MIGHT help treat Alzheimer’s, but that this sort of treatment needs to be weighed against other possible side effects of massive caffeine consumption.
In fact, the amount of caffeine you would have to take to equal the amount ingested by those mice is equivalent to:
- six cans of a popular energy drink, like Venom Mojave Rattler
- 14 cans of your favorite cola
- 15 cups of tea
That’s a ton of calories if you don’t like diet soda and diet energy drinks, or if you use cream and sugar in your coffee, and overall that’s a damn lot of caffeine. Can coffee reverse Alzheimer’s? I think the takeaway is we don’t quite know, but given the benefits of caffeine, it seems safe to say a cup or two a day won’t do any more harm than it could do good.