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Can Coffee Combat Alzheimer’s?

Posted Sep 04 2009 10:15am

Your morning cup o’ joe may protect you from one of the most dreaded diseases of our time. A new study says that drinking five medium-sized cups of coffee a day could lower your chances of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. 1

The study followed mice that were bred to develop Alzheimer’s. After two months of drinking water with 500 mg of caffeine added — the equivalent of five 8 oz. cups of coffee or two venti hot coffees from Starbucks — the mice performed much better on memory and thinking tests compared to mice that were given only water.

In fact, the memories of the caffeinated mice were on par with mice that didn’t have dementia at all.

Plus, the mice taking caffeine had a 50% reduction of beta amyloid, a protein often found in Alzheimer’s patients. 2

And it’s not just Alzheimer’s. At least six separate studies indicate that people who drink coffee on a regular basis are up to 80% less likely to develop Parkinson’s. In fact, the newest Parkinson’s drugs contain a derivative of caffeine. 3

Here’s how you can take advantage of coffee’s health benefits:

Drink it fresh. Grind your coffee at the time you wish to drink it. This maximizes the flavor and prevents against oxidation. Coffee’s healing properties are best when brewed fresh.

Drink it black. The best benefits of coffee are delivered in its purest state. Adding dairy products and sweeteners may alter the taste, but it will also diminish the rewards.

Don’t drink coffee close to bedtime. The brain, and your body, both require rest. Caffeine stimulation could negatively affect your sleep patterns.

Steer clear of flavored coffee drinks. The flavors are most likely artificial (i.e., high fructose corn syrups) and are often laden with unwanted calories.

If you’re not fond of coffee, here are few natural caffeine sources to consider:

Black tea/Green tea – Black tea and green tea both contain caffeine. A cup of black tea has roughly 40 mg of caffeine. That’s about half as much caffeine as a regular cup of coffee. Green tea, a popular and healthy drink, contains approximately 20 mg per cup.

Guarana — A popular ingredient in many energy drinks, guarana provides solid, energy-boosting benefits without the coffee jitters. The berry that Guarana comes from is high in healthy fatty acids, which are absorbed slower than water-soluble caffeine. This gives guarana a slower release time than coffee.

Remember, non-organic coffee is heavily sprayed with pesticides. And most popular brands use chemicals in the manufacturing process. So whatever caffeinated beverage you drink should be from organic sources. And if you don’t want to get your caffeine from tea or coffee, I recommend an herbal source, rather than caffeine pills.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, M.D.


  1. Arendash G.W. et al. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. July 2009
  2. Chuanhai Cao et al. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. July 2009
  3. Brunilda N. Coffee: the New Health Food? April 12, 2004

[ Ed. Note: Dr. Sears is Chairman of the Board of Total Health Breakthroughs. He has written over 500 articles and 7 books in the fields of alternative medicine, anti-aging, and nutritional supplementation.]

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