While previous research has linked coffee to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, the new study, out of the University of North Dakota, may explain why this effect occurs.
Chemicals in the bloodstream can be damaging to the brain, potentially raising the risk of Alzheimer’s. Something called the“brain blood barrier" keeps these chemicals away from the central nervous system. But in people who eat a high-fat, cholesterol-laden diet, it appears that this barrier can become leaky, making the brain vulnerable to Alzheimer’s.
In the University of North Dakota study, rabbits on a high-fat diet were given the caffeine equivalent of a daily cup of coffee. After 12 weeks, they were compared to rabbits which had also been on a high-fat diet but that weren’t given caffeine. According to a press release, the blood brain barriers of the rabbits given caffeine were“significantly more intact.”
“Caffeine appears to block several of the disruptive effects of cholesterol that make the blood-brain barrier leaky," says researcher Jonathan Geiger.
“Caffeine is a safe and readily available drug and its ability to stabilise the blood-brain barrier means it could have an important part to play in therapies against neurological disorders.”
While more research is needed to confirm the effect in humans, ‘its just one more reason to savour that morning Timmy’s. Enjoy! (BBC)