A research team including an Indian-origin boffin has found that coffee may be beneficial for men with Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) but for women, it may have the opposite effect.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal disease that damages key neurons in the brain and spinal cord. The disease causes progressive paralysis of voluntary muscles and often death within five years of symptoms.
AdvertisementAlthough ALS was discovered over a century ago, neither the cause nor a cure has been found, but several mechanisms seem to play a role in its development, including oxidative stress.
Researchers from York University and McMaster University investigated the antioxidant effects of coffee, caffeine and chlorogenic acid on the disease, which is also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
They measured levels of oxidative stress, antioxidant enzyme protein content and cell death in male and female mice models of ALS.
The found that in males: Coffee increased food intake by 21 percent, decreased markers of oxidative stress by 39-65 percent, increased markers of antioxidant enzyme protein content by 46-139 percent, and decreased markers of cell death by 34-36 percent.
Caffeine increased food intake by 22 percent, decreased markers of oxidative stress by 45-81 percent, increased markers of antioxidant enzyme protein content by 21-99 percent, and decreased markers of cell death by 17-22 percent.
Chlorogenic acid increased food intake by 12 percent, decreased markers of oxidative stress by 25-35 percent, increased markers of antioxidant enzyme proteins by 23-44 percent, and decreased cell death by 41-44 percent.
On the other hand, in females: Coffee increased food intake by 30 percent, decreased markers of oxidative stress by 64 percent, but did not increase markers of antioxidant enzymes or decrease markers of cell death.
Caffeine increased food intake by 28 percent, decreased motor performance by 20 percent, decreased markers of oxidative stress by 58 percent, decreased markers of antioxidant enzyme protein content by 11-48 percent, and increased cell death by 23-74 percent.
Chlorogenic acid increased markers of oxidative stress by 178 percent, had equivocal effects on markers of antioxidant enzyme protein content, and decreased cell death 33-39 percent.
"If we were to extrapolate these results to human patients with ALS, then coffee appears to be beneficial for men, both reducing oxidative stress and cell death, and increasing antioxidants. But for women, caffeine appears to be harmful. Women with the disorder may want to restrict caffeine consumption, or switch to decaffeinated products which contain the antioxidants, but with little caffeine," said study author Rajini Seevaratnam, a graduate student in York's School of Kinesiology and Health Science.
The researchers will present their findings at the 122nd Annual Meeting of the American Physiological Society, which is part of the Experimental Biology 2009 scientific conference.
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