Drinking three to five cups of coffee a day could help to significantly lower the risk of suffering Alzheimer's disease, a new study has revealed.
The study by 'The Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee' emphasizes the role nutrition can play in preserving cognitive function, particularly during the preclinical phase of Alzheimer's before full-blown symptoms of dementia occur.
AdvertisementThe study adds that compounds called caffeine and polyphenols can also be responsible for this protective effect - and these compounds are found in coffee in high quantities.
Dr Arfran Ikram, an assistant professor in neuroepidemiology at Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam, said: "Regular coffee consumption over a lifetime is associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease, with an optimum protective effect occurring with three to five cups of coffee per day."
The study was originally presented at the Alzheimer Europe annual conference in Glasgow last month and the Institution has published its final conclusions on Thursday.
The international conference heard that moderate consumption of coffee was associated with a lower risk of developing dementia over a four years test period - by up to 20 per cent. However the effect diminished over a longer follow up period.
The scientists said caffeine helped prevent the formation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrulary tangles in the brain - two major contributors for Alzheimer's Disease.
In addition, both caffeine and polyphenols reduced inflammation and reduced the deterioration of brain cells - particularly in the hippocampus and cortex, areas of the brain involved in memory.
Dr Iva Holmerova, vice chairman of Alzheimer Europe, said: "The findings presented in this report are very encouraging and help to develop our understanding of the role nutrition can play in protecting against Alzheimer's Disease. Coffee is a very popular beverage enjoyed by millions of people around the world and I'm pleased to know that moderate, lifelong consumption can have a beneficial effect on the development of Alzheimer's Disease."
She added: "Cognitive decline is a feature of aging, and though some changes can be expected in all of us, there is some indication that diet and lifestyle may be linked to cognition. In fact epidemiological researches reveal that certain lifestyle factors and nutritional elements, including the consumption of coffee, may help to slow age-related cognitive decline seen in the older people."
However, experts warn that the evidence that drinking coffee will help to protect against Alzheimer's disease was still not conclusive.
"Some research shows that caffeine and antioxidants in coffee may be beneficial but studies in people show mixed results - more research and clinical trials must be conducted to see if positive effects occur in people over the long term," they said.