Category: Nutrition

Coffee can save your brain from dementia, Alzheimer's, more

Coffee Can Save Your Brain

Being a coffee drinker, and at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, as are we all, I was heartened by this study appearing in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The researchers followed 1,409 individuals, aged 65-79, for an average of 21 years. The study also looked at each individual’s dietary habits.

At the end of the study, 48 of the subjects had developed Alzheimer’s disease. And it was shown that the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease was reduced by an astounding 65% in those who drank 3-5 cups of coffee daily. The authors went so far as to suggest that “this finding might open possibilities for prevention of dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease.”

I’m certain there will be a lot of questions from our readers about the effects of tea, other caffeinated beverages, and whether or not decaffeinated coffee would be of benefit. These ideas were not specifically explored in this study. I will say that coffee, like turmeric, resveratrol, and green tea extract, is a powerful upregulator of Nrf2 activity and as such activates gene pathways to both reduce inflammation as well as antioxidant protection. These are important factors in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Danna Seevers

    Oh boy….this is going to stir up some debate. Would love to hear you and Joe Mercola discuss the study. What about the negative effects of coffee on the intestinal lining? Cortisol levels?

    • Michelle Sala Radtke

      Mercola changed his mind about coffee and says it’s ok as long as it’s organic and consumed n moderation. Search for articles on his site.

  • Brigid

    This study is from 2009. Have there been any newer studies started/released? I am one of those who would ask about tea. 😉

  • Morgan Randall

    Too many other factors could have caused these results. I love my coffee but, David, I wouldn’t risk my credibility supporting what we know is detrimental to human health.

    • Darleenmb

      Since when was it decided that coffee was “detrimental to human health?” Because I must have missed that memo.

      • SoTiredOfPolitics

        I missed her qualifications to make that claim.

        • Morgan Randall

          Licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) who specializes in the body’s effect on mental health. I recommend all anxiety clients reduce their intake of caffein. Anger management clients should definitely avoid “anger juice.”

  • This 2012 study suggests it’s the caffeine – just do a Google search and you’ll find extensive research has been done in this area. http://www.jneurosci.org/content/32/40/13945.full

  • Jennifer

    Were these people eating a high carb diet? Would the effect be the same if they were eating a low carb, grain-free diet?

  • Lynn Dell

    Years ago it was reported coffee drinkers (over 5 cups a day) also have a decreased risk for type II diabetes: http://www.coffeeandhealth.org/research-centre/type2diabetes-2/coffee-consumption-and-type-2-diabetes/

    It appears caffeine, by itself, may impair glucose metabolism: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/8/2047.full

    I guess there must be some great compounds in coffee that offset the caffeine’s effect, then!

  • Sonii

    I love good coffee done the Bulletproof coffee way, blending in coconut oil and pastured butter. The bulletproof diet guy also says not to use paper filters as they can absorb some of the positive oils from the beans. This coffee feeds my brain good fats and helps me feel full. I don’t need more than one big cup a day. (it might equal two since I put it in a tall thermos to keep it warm)

  • Lyn M

    Having just come off the withdrawal headaches etc of coffee free days I admit a am still missing it. I need some st
    rong proof to put myself back in this position.

  • Sandra Clagett

    See there is a reason I love coffee!

  • Aris Romero

    The intestinal lining regenerates in less than a week. If someone has chronic inflammation of the intestinal lining it is most likely not caused by coffee consumption. They are probably eating gluten, damaged or altered fats, additives, and gmo’s.

    • Aris Romero

      Oh sorry this was in response to Donna Seever’s post 😛

  • kineos1

    A few years ago, in France (Paris I think) searchers found out that caffein avoids skin cancer : the melanoma cells commit suicide, actually, in presence of caffein.
    They explained clearly that it did consist of 1 or 2 coffees a day (european size = 1/2 to 1 small North American coffee size), or tea (same molecule). No milk in it, it would change caffein in casein (bad), and certainly not decaffeineted coffee or tea.
    Sorry I didn’t notice the names of the searchers nor the University.

  • Hope

    I love coffee but recently started having heart issues that have made me stop drinking it. After reading this; which is worse?

  • Morgan Randall

    Coffee acidifies the system causing pH to plummet. Detrimental to microbiome = detrimental to human health. Not to not mention its ability to trigger adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormones. People drinking coffee then stopping by the doc for anxiolytics. Shrug… Don’t mean I don’t like it. Pick your poisons, but don’t pretend they’re good for you.

    • SoTiredOfPolitics

      However, those issues are highly subjective. So this particular poison may well not only NOT be a poison, but also be good for many.

    • Fernanda Gomes

      I drank coffee for a while, as part of the bulletproof diet. At first, I felt great, fill of “energy”. After 2 months, I needed more and more coffee. My body was achy and I felt drained all the time. I learned that I was getting too acidic, so I switched to Vanilla Tea and feel so much better after 3 days.
      I want to add that maybe I was using too much coffee (4 spoons/2 servings)!

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  • gelisius

    Dr. Perlmutter, I am trying the Grain Brain diet for depression and mood swings. I have heard that coffee (caffeine) that contribute to these. Any thoughts on whether coffee is OK for people with this particular health concern?

    • lynette mayo

      I read in my DNA test, plus my ‘O’ blood type, l’m a fast metabolizer of caffeine, 1 cup a day no wonder l could not sleep after 3 cups ! . You might also want to check Kelly Brogan MD* on her FB, she has nothing to do with coffee herself! *A Mind of you Own’

  • Ellen Gall

    Trigiminal Neuralgia is my main malady — among many others that come with old-age. Because of the TN, caffeine is a no-no for me. I take Gabapentin to keep the nerve quiet. It is possible that this diet can affect this outside-the-brain-naked nerve. No matter, I’m excited about reading “Grain Brain” and am anxious to pursue the no sugar, gluten-free, high (good) fat diet. If it fixes the naked TN nerve that’s a bonus. Thank you for your appearance on PBS!

  • HealthyHopes

    I stopped drinking coffee about 5 years ago because it upset by stomach. About a year ago I started getting headaches regularly. I started drinking dark roast coffee without all of the additives, e.g., sugar & milk. Also I don’t drink from that well known chain of stores either. As a result my headaches stopped.
    I drink a mug a day and love it!

  • jolene

    Another reason to love coffee! Grain Brain has worked wonderfully for me in the 3 months that I have been on the program. <3

    • David Perlmutter

      I’m so glad to hear that Jolene.

  • DancingTree41

    Dr. Perlmutter, one more great source of caffeine is Guayusa, an Amazonian caffeinated holly tree from Ecuador. One 8 oz. cup provides 90 grams of caffeine, providing focused attention & energy without the jitters. I brew a pot of it daily, adding stevia leaves and mint, and enjoy its gentle, sustained alertness.

  • Kim

    Hi David, I am about to start your ‘Power Up Your Brain’ program- would this mean that you now think it’s OK to have coffee on the program? Am hoping yes! Thanks, Kim

    • David Perlmutter

      Coffee is a fantastic activator of our Nrf2 pathways.

  • Aristotle

    Hello Dr. Perlmutter, If a person has the Alzheimer’s gene should that person not consume animal products?
    Thank you,

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  • Laura86

    Dr Perlmutter I have question about caffeine is green tea a safe drink dose it have caffeine in it ??

    • David Perlmutter

      You can absolutely enjoy green tea Laura.

  • Cheryl M.

    Dr. Perlmutter, what is you opinion of Bulletproof Coffee? Does the combination of MCT oil and coffee enhance coffee’s cognitive protective effects?

  • Marley

    Perhaps the people drinking 3-5 cups of coffee a day were just eating less (because they were drinking so much coffee).

  • chica39

    This study only had 48 patients, can we really derive conclusive data from such a low amount of subjects in this study?

    • Enaid

      The study had 1,409 individuals; 48 of them developed Alzheimer’s.

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  • Braven R. Corby

    hello Dr. Perlmutter!! me and my wife are very big fans of yours!! we were just watching your live facebook video of you at this health expo in the USA. we are in Toronto, Canada. any plans to come to a talk here in or near Toronto, Ontario, Canada ? also i have a question about you recommending any types of organic whey protein powders. i always heard that all forms of dairy , especially whey protein powders even if they are organic are not healthy at all for the human body. can you please comment on this. me and my wife love the taste of cheese. but most importantly we both want to be as healthy as possible . now in our 40’s and we both have very weak and poor digestive systems. we both appreciate your time to read this and to comment on this when you have the time!!
    GOD BLESS YOU !! Braven & Regina!!

    • David Perlmutter

      Nothing scheduled just yet Braven, but stay tuned. Always share news of my appearances here!

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