Coffee Linked To Reduced Parkinson's Risk

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, May 17, 2024 - 02:30 AM

Authored by George Citroner via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Your morning cup of joe may be doing more than just giving you an energy boost to tackle the day. New evidence suggests that the caffeine in your brew could pack an extra punch by reducing your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.


Findings Suggest Caffeine May Reduce Parkinson’s Risk by 40 Percent

While previous research highlighted caffeine’s benefits like increased energy and enhanced cognitive performance, a recent study in Neurology adds to the evidence that caffeine may help prevent Parkinson’s disease, a progressive movement disorder.

The new study examined coffee intake and future Parkinson’s risk in 184,024 participants across six European countries.

Unlike prior studies, it quantified caffeine biomarkers years before Parkinson’s onset. Researchers identified 351 Parkinson’s cases, matched with controls by age, sex, study center, and fasting status during blood collection.

Results showed that higher caffeine consumption and the presence of key metabolites like paraxanthine and theophylline were linked to reduced Parkinson’s risk.

Paraxanthine and theophylline have been shown to have antioxidant effects. Oxidative stress is believed to play a role in the neurodegeneration seen in Parkinson’s, so compounds with antioxidant activity may help protect neurons from damage. Also, Parkinson’s involves the death of dopamine neurons. Some research suggests paraxanthine and theophylline may increase dopamine receptor signaling, which could compensate for neuron loss.

The neuroprotective effects were exposure-dependent, with the highest consumption group having nearly 40 percent lower Parkinson’s risk compared to non-coffee drinkers.

The “sweet spot of coffee consumption” is probably two to four cups per day, Dr. Jack Wolfson, a board-certified cardiologist in Scottsdale, Arizona, not associated with the study, told The Epoch Times. Above that amount, “there is probably not much benefit,” he added.

Link Promising but Not Proven

The scientific evidence linking coffee consumption to a decreased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease is quite strong, Dr. Hwai Ooi, a neurologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, who was not associated with the study, told The Epoch Times. Numerous studies over the past 20 years have demonstrated a “clear association,” she said.

However, association does not imply causation. The exact mechanism by which caffeine might offer neuroprotection and reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease development remains unknown, Dr. Ooi added.

Also, clinical trials to date investigating whether caffeine or its metabolites can slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease or help improve its symptoms have not shown such benefits, she noted.

Though the evidence looks promising, Dr. Ooi said more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between coffee consumption and Parkinson’s disease risk. This includes determining the optimal amount and type of coffee to consume for maximum benefits.

Don’t Overdo the Coffee: Expert

Dr. Ooi cautioned against consuming excessive coffee to lower Parkinson’s risk. “As with almost everything we put into our bodies, moderation is key,” she said.

Excess caffeine intake has been linked to increased anxiety, sleep issues, gastrointestinal problems like heartburn, elevated heart rate and blood pressure (especially problematic for those with heart conditions or hypertension), decreased bone density, and potential medication interactions.

Regular consumption of large amounts of coffee can lead to dependency and withdrawal symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and irritability when reducing intake.

Dr. Ooi advised consulting a health care professional for any concerns about caffeine intake.

Other Ways to Reduce Parkinson’s Risk

In addition to coffee consumption, experts say there are other lifestyle factors and habits that could play a role in reducing the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

The most important is aerobic exercise, “which has clearly been shown to be neuroprotective effects in Parkinson’s disease and can slow down progression of the disease,” Dr. Ooi said. Current guidelines recommend a minimum of 2.5 hours of aerobic activity per week for those with Parkinson’s.

Other factors linked to optimal brain health and lower Parkinson’s risk include maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. Dr. Wolfson recommends a diet rich in wild seafood, noting higher consumption is associated with lower risk.

Getting adequate sleep, managing stress through practices like mindfulness meditation, and staying socially and mentally active are other modifiable lifestyle changes that may be beneficial, he added.