Jul 8, 2012

Caffeine May Slow Dementia Progression

June 2012

Caffeine may slow the progression of dementia in people who have mild cognitive impairment, according to a recent study.

Caffeine is a naturally occurring compound found in the leaves, seeds, or fruits of more than 60 plants, including coffee beans, cacao beans, kola nuts, guarana berries and tea leaves (including yerba mate and green tea). Caffeine is consumed regularly in the United States and throughout the world, as it is found in many beverages, including coffee, chocolate, some energy drinks and tea; more than seven kilograms of caffeine per person are consumed in the United States per year.

In a new study, researchers recruited 124 people 65-88 years-old. Blood samples were collected to determine caffeine levels at the start of the study. Over the 2-4 year period, the research team assessed participants' brain function to evaluate if different initial levels of caffeine may predict cognitive changes.

People who had mild cognitive impairment that progressed into dementia had significantly lower caffeine levels than those with stable mild cognitive impairment. The results suggested that 1,200 nanograms per milliliter may be the critical level that may determine whether mild cognitive impairment becomes dementia, since subjects with levels above this amount appeared to have stable cognitive condition during the 2-4 year study period.

The findings suggest that caffeine intake in the form of coffee may help prevent dementia progression, particularly in people with mild cognitive impairment. However, more evidence is needed to better understand these findings.

Medicinally, caffeine may be useful as a heart stimulant and also to improve urine flow. Caffeine has been shown to affect mood, endurance, the cerebrovascular system and gastric and colonic activity. Caffeine has also been marketed as a weight loss tool and is often included in various weight loss supplements. Caffeine may be used in rectal suppositories.

For more information about caffeine, please visit Natural Standard's Foods, Herbs & Supplements Database.


  1. Cao C, Loewenstein DA, Lin X, et al. High Blood Caffeine Levels in MCI Linked to Lack of Progression to Dementia. J Alzheimers Dis. 2012 Mar 19. [Epub ahead of print] View Abstract

Source: http://naturalstandard.com/news/news201206008.asp


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