A new study revealed that a lot of coffee has a negative impact on brain health over time, as it found that participants who drank more than 6 cups had a 53 percent increased risk of dementia, and a smaller brain size compared to those who drank one to two cups a day.
Another study suggested that caffeine protects nerves to some extent and slows cognitive decline in older people, who are at risk for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Presumably, these conflicting results may be due to the new research’s focus on young healthy subjects, compared to previous work looking at older subjects that already exhibit some degree of neurodegeneration, or cognitive decline, according to the newatlas medical website.
“The results do not necessarily mean that caffeine consumption has a negative effect on the brain, but it is clear that daily caffeine consumption clearly affects our cognitive systems, which in itself should lead to further studies.”
The researchers behind the new study published in Nutritional Neuroscience evaluated the effects of coffee on the brain among more than 17,700 participants aged 37 to 73. They found that participants who drank more than 6 cups of coffee a day had a 53 percent increased risk of dementia and a smaller brain size compared to those who drank one to two cups a day.
“This is the most comprehensive investigation of the associations between coffee, measurements of brain volume, dementia risk, and stroke risk – and is also the largest study to consider brain volume imaging data and a wide range of confounding factors,” said study lead author Kitty Pham.
“Given all the possible permutations, we have consistently found that higher coffee consumption is significantly associated with lower brain volume – essentially, drinking more than 6 cups of coffee per day may put you at risk for brain diseases such as dementia and stroke,” Pham said.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, healthy adults are advised to limit their daily coffee intake to about 4 or 5 cups, which is approximately 400 milligrams of caffeine.