An unidentified component of coffee interacts with the caffeine, which could be the reason that coffee drinking protects against Alzheimer’s disease. A recent Alzheimer’s study by scientists at the University of South Florida found that this interaction boosts blood levels of a growth factor called GCSF (granulocyte colony stimulating factor) that seems to fight off the Alzheimer’s disease process. Hurray for coffee!
The findings appear in the online version of an article in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The USF team presents the first evidence that caffeinated coffee offers protection against the disease, protection that doesn’t occur with other caffeinated drinks or decaffeinated coffee.
The new study shows that caffeinated coffee induces an increase in blood levels of GCSF, a substance that is found to be greatly diminished in patients with Alzheimer’s disease–and demonstrated to improve memory in Alzheimer’s studies. A just-completed clinical trial at the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute is looking into GCSF treatment to prevent full-blown Alzheimer’s in patients with mild cognitive impairment. The results of that trial are now being evaluated and will be published soon.
The researchers are hoping to identify this yet unknown component so that it can be used to provide long-term protection against Alzheimer’s.