Associated with brain degeneration, both Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia are currently incurable. But according to a recent study, two compounds found in coffee could fight these two progressive diseases.
Caffeine has been credited as the protective agent of coffee. However, there are limited information about over a thousand other compounds in coffee beans.
Only the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can be treated by available drugs, which cannot protect the brain against degeneration. The risk of developing the disease may be reduced by drinking coffee, previous studies have suggested.
To learn more about Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia, researchers from Rutgers University gave mice small amounts of caffeine and Eicosanoyl-5-hydroxytryptamide (EHT) separately and together. EHT is a fatty acid derivative of the neurotransmitter serotonin found in coffee beans’ coating.
Led by Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Institute for Neurological Therapeutics director M. Maral Mouradian, the team studied if caffeine nor EHT protect the brain more effectively when combined than when they are separate. The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Individually, neither caffeine nor EHT was effective. But when given together, the two coffee compounds stimulated the activity of a catalyst that helps slow the buildup of harmful proteins in the brain.
The result suggests that the combination may be able to slow or stop the progression of Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia. Further research is needed to determine the proper amounts and ratio of the two coffee compounds required for the protective effect in people, according to Mouradian.
“EHT is a compound found in various types of coffee but the amount varies,” Rutgers Today quoted Mouradian as saying. “It is important that the appropriate amount and ratio be determined so people don’t over-caffeinate themselves, as that can have negative health consequences.”
Meanwhile, another study suggested that the best time to drink coffee is one hour after waking up. This is the time the cortisol production of the body is at one of its three daily peaks, according to the study published in National Center for Biotechnology Information.
When under stress, the body produces more cortisol to increase alertness. However, the body produces less cortisol when caffeine is consumed while it is already at its peak producing the steroid hormone.