Think Before You Drink Too Much Coffee

What’s New in Psychology?

Think Before You Drink Too Much Coffee   

Jim Windell

           Okay. I admit it. I’ve never understood people who had to start their day with a steaming hot cup of coffee. I also don’t comprehend the concept of needing a java kick start to begin the day. And I have never felt a kinship to those folks who drink cup after cup of joe throughout the day.

           Actually, just the smell of coffee makes me slightly nauseous, so I never acquired a taste for any type or flavor of coffee, so I’ve come close to acquiring a habit that forced me to drink either a normal home-brewed cup of coffee or a fancy Starbuck’s latte instead of eating a normal breakfast.

           On the other hand, I fully recognize that coffee is among the most popular drinks in the world. And that global consumption of coffee amounts to more nine billion kilograms a year. Americans, I know, swill about 146 billion cups each year. I’m also aware that some research over the years have proclaimed the health benefits of coffee. 

           Really? You’re going to scold your palate with a bitter drink and then tell me that’s doing something wonderful for your health?

           As I say, I just don’t get it.

           But now, I’m feeling slightly sanctimonious about my abstaining from multiple cups of coffee every day.

           New research that comes from the University of South Australia suggests that too many cups of coffee could be dragging you down – not perking you up. At least when it comes to your brain health.

           A study conducted at the University of South Australia’s Australian Centre for Precision Health at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute in Adelaide and a team of international researchers from England and Ethiopia looked at the effects of coffee on the brain among 17,702 participants. The people participating in this study ranged from ages 37 to 73.

           The major finding from this study is that those people who drank more than six cups of coffee a day had a 53 per cent increased risk of dementia. In other words, researchers have found that high coffee consumption is associated with smaller total brain volumes and an increased risk of dementia.

           “This is the most extensive investigation into the connections between coffee, brain volume measurements, the risks of dementia, and the risks of stroke -- it's also the largest study to consider volumetric brain imaging data and a wide range of confounding factors,” notes Kitty Pham, lead researcher and University of South Australia Ph.D. candidate.

           Pham went on to say that “Accounting for all possible permutations, we consistently found that higher coffee consumption was significantly associated with reduced brain volume -- essentially, drinking more than six cups of coffee a day may be putting you at risk of brain diseases such as dementia and stroke.”

           Dementia is a degenerative brain condition that affects memory, thinking, behavior and the ability to perform everyday tasks. Worldwide, about 50 million people are diagnosed with the syndrome. More than 10 million Americans are diagnosed with dementia each year and as much as eight percent of the U.S. population over age 60 suffers from dementia.

           Stroke is a condition where the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, resulting in oxygen starvation, brain damage and loss of function. Around the world, one in four adults over the age of 25 will have a stroke in their lifetime. In the U.S., almost 800,000 people experience a stroke every year.

           While this news about the dangers of high coffee consumption may be a bitter brew for coffee lovers, senior investigator and Director of the University of South Australia’s Australian Centre for Precision Health, Professor Elina Hyppönen, says it's all about finding a balance between what you drink and what's good for your health.

           “This research provides vital insights about heavy coffee consumption and brain health, but as with many things in life, moderation is the key,” Hyppönen says.

           Keeping in mind that excessive coffee consumption can have an adverse effect on your brain, Hyppönen recommends that you stay hydrated and remember to drink water throughout the day. If you’re approaching six cups of coffee per day, it’s time to drink something else.

           To read the original article, find it with this reference:

Kitty Pham, Anwar Mulugeta, Ang Zhou, John T. O’Brien, David J. Llewellyn, Elina Hyppönen. (2021). High coffee consumption, brain volume and risk of dementia and stroke. Nutritional Neuroscience; 1 DOI: 10.1080/1028415X.2021.1945858



Share this post:

Comments on "Think Before You Drink Too Much Coffee "

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment