Good News for Coffee Drinkers

Coffee May Protect Against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

After years of bad press finally some good news on coffee.
Now coffee drinkers can have their morning cup without the quilt.
The past couple of years it has been observed that coffee drinkers on average lived longer and had a lower incident of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s than the non coffee drinker group. But it was not understood why, or what might be in coffee that was responsible for this observation.
Researcher at the University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada looked at 6 different compounds in coffee, and 2 processes that occur in the diseases to see if they could explain this observation.
The 6 coffee compounds tested;
  1. caffeine
  2. chlorogenic acid
  3. quinic acid
  4. caffeic acid
  5. quercetin
  6. phenylindane
The 2 disease processes observed;
  1. beta amyloid plaque
  2. tau neurofibrillary tangles

The definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease requires that there be an overabundance in the brain of two proteins: beta amyloid plaques and tau neurofibrillary tangles. During normal brain activity these proteins are left (as waste) and must be removed by glial cells. If this house cleaning is interfered with a build up of these proteins occurs. A build up of beta amyloid (especially in the presents of excess sugar) will form beta amyloid plaque which interfere with neuron communication. A build of tau will cause neuron fibers to twist and become tangled in a ball.

The researchers tested the 6 compounds found in coffee against these 2 hallmark signs of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. They also tested three instant coffee extracts (light roast, dark roast, decaffeinated dark roast). All three coffee types contain the above 6 compounds and all three helped inhibit the beta amyloid plaque buildup and the tau neurofibrillary tangles. The phenylindane (6) had the greatest ability to reduce both of these 2 disease processes. Phenylindanes are found in higher concentrations in coffees with longer roasting times, such as dark roasts and espressos.

Words of Caution:

Don’t confuse this with a cure. Once the the disease is full blown coffee will not reverse it. Plus, there are other biological processes involved such as excess sugar intake, glial cell inhibition, and neurotoxins like heavy metal exposure and pesticides. But as a preventive measure along with good nutrition coffee is safe and does appear to offer some protective properties against these neurodegenerative diseases.

This research will probably spark further investigations into phenylindane as an early onset treatment option.

ORIGINAL RESEARCH ARTICLE Front. Neurosci., 12 October 2018 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2018.00735