Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Coffee the Wunderbean!

"With pharmaceutical companies spending millions of dollars trying to develop drugs against Alzheimer's disease, there may very well be an effective preventive right under our noses every morning – caffeinated coffee," said Dr. Arendash  lead researcher at the University of South Florida in an article to be published on June 28 in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

Now we’ve all seen these sort of headlines over the years, of new drug breakthroughs that offer “so much hope” when used in animal models, only to be let down years later by unexpected side effects when  “trialled” on humans: but, hey, we’re talking about coffee here, and it’s been part of the human way of life for centuries, so the “side effect” profile is already well documented. So what is new about coffee?

Firstly, they’re talking about caffeinated coffee, and being an American study, they used “drip feed” coffee, so we’ll have to wait for an Italian study to let us know if the same applies to Cappuccino or espresso coffee! But it appears that there is a “secret” ingredient in coffee that helps the caffeine stimulate a growth factor called GCSF (granulocyte colony stimulating factor): GCSF is a substance greatly decreased in patients with Alzheimer's disease and has experimentally been shown to improve memory in Alzheimers mice! It appears to work in three ways:

·      First, GCSF recruits stem cells from bone marrow to enter the brain and remove the harmful beta-amyloid protein that initiates the disease.

·      GCSF also creates new connections between brain cells and

·      It increases the birth of new neurons in the brain.

All good so far: but you have to drink coffee in a “moderate” amount, and that means 3 to 4 cups a day. It doesn’t work with de-caffeinated coffee and it is not known whether this research is valid for instant coffee or other forms of our favorite beverage.

It also appears that coffee is a pretty amazing soup of all things that might be good for you: it is rich in anti-oxidants and contains compounds that are effective anti-inflammatory agents too. Recent research has shown coffee consumption decreases the risk of other nasty chronic health problems such as Parkinson’s Disease, Type II Diabetes and stroke too! It may also reduce the risk of prostate cancer and breast cancer!! Not a bad CV for a humble cup of coffee!!
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1 comment:

Elizabeth Cottrell (RiverwoodWriter) said...

Great delightful to discover something I enjoy that is NOT bad for me! Thank you for sharing research-based information. There is too much anecdotal misinformation out there.