In the morning, after meals, or in between – espresso is one of the most consumed beverages worldwide. Researchers have now discovered that this little wake-up call can do even more: In laboratory experiments, it counteracted the protein clumps typical of Alzheimer’s disease in the brain.
In Germany, more than 400,000 people are diagnosed with dementia each year, with the majority suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers estimate that these numbers will triple worldwide in the next three decades.
By 2050, around 2.8 million people in Germany alone could be affected by the disease. Currently, according to the Federal Ministry of Health, the number stands at 1.6 million.
Alzheimer’s Causes Unclear – No Cure Found Yet To this day, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s – only symptoms can be alleviated and progression slowed down with various medications and therapies.
The exact causes of the disease are also largely unclear. However, it is known that two different proteins accumulate in the brain in this condition: the so-called beta-amyloid plaques and tau fibrils.
While the beta-amyloid plaques deposit between nerve cells, the altered tau protein associated with the disease accumulates inside nerve cells and forms fibers called tau fibrils.
This, in turn, leads to functional impairment and ultimately to cell destruction. According to the Alzheimer Forschung Initiative e.V., post-mortem examinations of brains have shown that tau fibrils are more closely related to clinical symptoms than the plaques. Finding a drug that could stop this process would be a medical breakthrough.
Effect of Espresso on Tau Protein
Italian Researchers Investigate the Effect of Espresso on Tau Protein Now, researchers from the University of Verona have made an interesting discovery. Bioactive compounds in espresso coffee can apparently prevent the formation of these tau fibrils and even make them harmless.
For the study published in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry,” the scientists first analyzed the chemical composition of espresso. The mixture used was a combination of Arabica coffee from South America and Robusta coffee from Africa and Asia.
In their experiment, the researchers focused on four substances contained in the coffee:
- and Theobromine, which is also found in chocolate.
Fibrils Shortened by Espresso Extract – Resulting in Harmlessness In the laboratory experiment, they then combined the individual ingredients as well as the entire espresso extract in test tubes with tau proteins that had already become pathological.
Shorten the Fibrils
It was observed that both caffeine and genistein, as well as the entire espresso extract, caused the fibrils to shorten, preventing the formation of larger fibers. The shortened fibers were also no longer harmful to the cells.
This effect was most pronounced with the entire espresso extract.
Researchers Believe Drinking Espresso is Beneficial Although the experiment took place in the laboratory and the effects are not directly transferable to the human body, the researchers are confident that moderate coffee consumption has a positive effect on the brain:
“Based on the brain bioavailability of coffee components and the results of our study, we believe that moderate coffee consumption can deliver a sufficient amount of bioactive molecules to act separately or synergistically as modulators of tau protein aggregation and toxicity,” .the study states
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Source of Natural Compounds
The study, therefore, provides evidence that espresso is a source of natural compounds with beneficial properties in alleviating tau-related pathologies.
As a result, the study serves as an important basis for further research on how to use bioactive compounds in the prevention and treatment of so-called taupathies, which include neurodegenerative diseases involving the deposition of tau proteins, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Neuroprotective Effects of Coffee
Previous Studies Also Indicated Neuroprotective Effects of Coffee The authors also point out that several scientific studies in the past have shown beneficial health effects of coffee, such as in a range of chronic diseases like cancer and metabolic disorders like diabetes.
Numerous studies have also provided evidence that moderate to high coffee consumption exhibits neuroprotective effects against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Many different substances in coffee have demonstrated positive properties in alleviating disease symptoms such as cognitive impairments or memory disorders.
Lowering the Risk of Alzheimer’s
with These 12 Tips Although the espresso study provides hope, it is by no means a guarantee against developing Alzheimer’s. Nevertheless, there are many factors that can reduce the risk of the disease. According to the Alzheimer Forschung Initiative, studies have shown that people are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s if they follow these twelve tips:
What’s good for your heart is also good for your brain. This includes getting enough physical activity – at least 2.5 hours per week is ideal.
2. Mental Fitness
Learn new things – even in old age. This keeps your brain sharp. Whether it’s learning to play a musical instrument, a language, or using a computer, try something new.
3. Healthy Diet
Follow the traditional Mediterranean diet. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, olive oil, and nuts. Prefer fish over red meat.
4. Social Contacts
Activities are more fun when done together with others, and your brain will be challenged. Arrange to exercise, play music, play cards, or cook together with friends or family.
5. Reduce Overweight
Make sure you don’t carry too many extra kilos. A healthy diet and regular exercise can help with this.
6. Sufficient Sleep
Ensure good and sufficient sleep so that the brain can eliminate toxins and recover.
7. Don’t Smoke
Smoking also harms your brain. Quitting smoking is never too late.
8. Avoid Head Injuries
Take care of your head in everyday life and during sports, for example, wear a helmet when cycling.
9. Check Blood Pressure
Regularly monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure should definitely be treated.
10. Check for Diabetes
Keep an eye on your blood sugar level. If it is consistently too high, take action in consultation with your doctor.
11. Treat Depression
Take good care of yourself. If you feel listless or depressed for an extended period, it is advisable to consult your doctor to find the cause. Depression should not go untreated.
12. Watch for Hearing Loss
Take it seriously if you notice that your hearing is getting worse. Hearing aids can effectively correct a declining ability to hear.
A well-functioning metabolism is important for the body. To keep your metabolism on track in the long run, it is better to avoid these five foods.
Original source: This information was Initially covered by Focus and has been translated for our readers.