How does coffee reduce the risk of dementia? Researchers from Indiana University have found the mechanisms behind coffee’s brain benefits.
The beverage used to be very controversial, as some believed that it caused cancer. In June of last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) finally cleared it up once and for all that coffee does not cause cancer.
The Indiana University found that caffeine can boost production of an enzyme nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyl transferase 2 (NMNAT2), which may be responsible for blocking processes linked to dementia.
Worldwide, there are 47.5 million people living with dementia. This number is expected to more than triple by 2050.
Hui-Chen Lu, of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University, and colleagues found that the NMNAT2 enzyme protects brain cells from stress.
Medical News Today reported:
In this study, the team administered caffeine to mice that had been genetically modified to produce low NMNAT2 levels. The researchers found that the rodents began producing the enzyme at levels comparable to those of normal mice.
While much more research is needed to determine whether caffeine is useful for warding off dementia, the results are promising.
The research team believes that the results of the study could make way for new dementia fighting drugs.
“This work could help advance efforts to develop drugs that increase levels of this enzyme in the brain, creating a chemical ‘blockade’ against the debilitating effects of neurodegenerative disorders,” Hui-Chen Lu said.
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1. “Caffeine May Ward off Dementia by Boosting Protective Enzyme.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, 31 Dec. 1969. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.
2. “NMNAT2:HSP90 Complex Mediates Proteostasis in Proteinopathies.” PLOS Biology. Public Library of Science, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.