Dark Roast Coffee Helps Prevent Alzheimer’s
- Approximately 500-B cups of coffee are consumed worldwide each year.
Our morning cup of coffee can do more than give us a Jolt, it can help lower our chances of developing Alzheimer’s. But you have to make sure you drink a dark roast because a new study has found that darker roasts work better as a preventative of the debilitating disease .
Canada’s Krembil Brain Institute based its research on 3 types of Arabica coffee: a light roast, dark roast and decaffeinated dark roast.
And although other studies have found health benefits in coffee, this study surprisingly found that dark roasts help lower one’s chances of developing both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and that both caffeinated and decaffeinated roasts were found to be effective in the study
Phenylindanes is the Key compound in coffee that had an anti-clumping effect on protein fragments beta amyloid and tau. The clumping of those elements is a key cause of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, experts believe.
“Coffee consumption does seem to have some correlation to a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease,” says Dr. Donald Weaver, Co-director of the Krembil Brain Institute. “But we wanted to investigate why that is, which compounds are involved and how they may impact age-related cognitive decline.”
Dr. Weaver enlisted Dr. Ross Mancini, a research fellow in medicinal chemistry and Yanfei Wang, a biologist, to help.
“The caffeinated and de-caffeinated dark roast both had identical potencies in our initial experimental tests,” says Dr. Mancini. “So we observed early on that its protective effect could not be due to caffeine.”
Dr. Mancini then identified a group of compounds known as phenylindanes, which emerge as a result of the roasting process for coffee beans. Phenylindanes are unique in that they are the only compound investigated in the study that prevent — or rather, inhibit — both beta amyloid and tau, two protein fragments common in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, from clumping. “So phenylindanes are a dual-inhibitor. Very interesting, we were not expecting that.” says Dr. Weaver.
Phenylindane is formed during the roasting of coffee beans and higher quantities are found in darker roasts, according to the study, which was published in “Frontiers in Neuroscience.”
“Mother Nature is a much better chemist than we are and Mother Nature is able to make these compounds. If you have a complicated compound, it’s nicer to grow it in a crop, harvest the crop, grind the crop out and extract it than try to make it.”
But, he admits, there is much more research needed before it can translate into potential therapeutic options.
“What this study does is take the epidemiological evidence and try to refine it and to demonstrate that there are indeed components within coffee that are beneficial to warding off cognitive decline. It’s interesting but are we suggesting that coffee is a cure? Absolutely not.”
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