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The Unknown Benefits of Caffeine

Neuroprotective Benefits of Caffeine

Do you start your day with a cup of coffee or tea? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people around the world enjoy caffeine in the morning to help them wake up and get going. Caffeine is the most widely utilized psychoactive drug and can become a integral part of an individuals day. But what many people don’t know is that caffeine has some surprising benefits that go beyond its immediate cognitive enhancing effects.

In this blog post, we will discuss some of the lesser-known benefits of caffeine and how they can help improve your life!

The inherent appeal of caffeine is most likely attributable to its psychostimulant effect which leads to immediate increases in energy and focus. But did you know that newer clinical research is demonstrating that caffeine may act as a neuroprotective agent? But before we get into the data, lets get a foundational understanding of Caffeine effects on the brain.

Caffeine Mechanism of Action

Caffeine has been identified as an adenosine antagonist, meaning that it selectively blocks these receptors conferring multiple neuronal effects. Adenosine receptors are responsible for a number of important functions in the brain. More specifically, adenosine receptors govern sleep regulation and multiple components of cognition.

Furthermore, adenosine acts as a neuromodulator that helps to regulate the release of dopamine.When caffeine blocks adenosine receptors, it leads to a indirect increase in dopamine concentrations in the brain.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood, movement, and cognitive function. When dopamine levels are low, people may experience symptoms such as depression, lack of motivation, and impaired thinking.

Neuroprotective Effects of Caffeine

One of the most exciting benefits of caffeine is its neuroprotective effects. Caffeine has been shown to protect neurons from damage and death. This is particularly important in older adults who are at risk for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

In a study published in the journal Neurology, researchers found that caffeine may help to protect against Alzheimer’s disease. The study looked at 6,000 elderly participants over a period of 4 years. The results showed that those who consumed moderate amounts of caffeine (between 100-300 mg/day) were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Another study published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience showed that caffeine may help to protect against Parkinson’s disease. The study looked at the brains of mice who were bred to develop Parkinson’s disease. The results showed that the mice who were given caffeine supplements had less damage to their brain cells and were able to move more easily than the mice who did not receive caffeine.

These studies suggest that caffeine may play a role in protecting against neurodegenerative diseases. While more research is needed, these findings are very promising and could lead to new treatments for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Tanner Wilson is a IFM Certified Functional Medicine Provider in Kansas specializing in health optimization.

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