In addition to providing an extra boost of energy throughout the day, researchers from the University of South Florida and the University of Miami have found that the consumption of caffeine could offer the added benefit of fending off Alzheimer's in adults over the age of 65 with mild memory impairment. The study, published June 5 in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, followed 124 people aged 65 to 88 who had mild cognitive impairment, also known as MCI.
Over the two to four-year follow-up, researchers found that 100 percent of patients who had high blood caffeine levels above a critical level defined as 1,200 ng/ml -- or equivalent to drinking several cups of coffee a few hours before drawing blood -- did not go on to develop full-blown Alzheimer's disease compared to counterparts whose blood caffeine levels fell below the same mark. Of all the caffeine sources, coffee appeared to be the main, if not exclusive source of energy buzz in the study.
"Moderate daily consumption of caffeinated coffee appears to be the best dietary option for long-term protection against Alzheimer's memory loss," said study co-author Gary Arendash. "Coffee is inexpensive, readily available, easily gets into the brain, and has few side-effects for most of us." The consumption of coffee has also been shown to have protective effects against diabetes, breast cancer and stroke. An epidemiological study published in May found that people who consumed three or more cups of coffee a day had a 10 percent lower risk of death compared to non-coffee drinkers.