Certain types of coffee protect against dementia and Parkinson's

Certain types of coffee protect against dementia and Parkinson's

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Coffee on the way to the cure

In addition to caffeine, the coffee bean contains thousands of compounds whose effects on the body are less well known. In a recent study, an American research team found a substance in the wax-like coating of the bean that has so far received little attention, which, in combination with caffeine, protects the brain against degenerative diseases such as dementia and Parkinson's.

Researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey discovered that the substance eicosanoyl-5-hydroxytryptamide (EHT) from the coating on the coffee bean in combination with caffeine prevents the formation of harmful protein accumulations (Lewy bodies). These Lewy bodies are thought to trigger Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, the second most common dementia disease after Alzheimer's. The study results were recently published in the journal “PNAS - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”.

Coffee as medicine for Parkinson's and dementia?

"These two compounds from coffee could protect the brain from degeneration," the researchers write in the university's press release on the study results. The discovery even suggests that these compounds are useful as therapy for slowing incurable degenerative diseases.

Harmful protein accumulations in the brain are prevented

In their study, the researchers focused on the molecule EHT. In experiments on mice, the team was able to demonstrate that EHT prevents the formation of the so-called Lewy bodies. These harmful protein accumulations lead to bottlenecks and constipation in the brain. Even if the causes of Parkinson's and dementia have not yet been clearly identified, these bodies are clearly involved in the disease process and, according to current research, are the main triggers.

The effect is only strong together

The research team gave the mice small doses of caffeine or EHT both separately and together. The substances alone were not effective. Only when administered together could they prevent the harmful accumulations in the brain. The researchers conclude that the combination of EHT and caffeine can slow down or even stop the progression of these diseases.

Can EHT be found in every type of coffee?

"EHT is a compound that occurs in different types of coffee, but the amount varies," explains the lead author of the study, M. Maral Mouradian, who is also the director of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Institute for Neurological Therapeutics. It is now important to find the appropriate ratio for the protective effect, since a coffee overdose can also have negative consequences for health.

Coffee: from poison to remedy?

Many people ask: "Is coffee a poison or a medicine?" Several recent studies have shown a clear tendency towards medicines. Another recent analysis by the University of Southampton showed that three cups of coffee a day are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. However, if the coffee consumption was too high, the effect was lost. (vb)

Author and source information

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