A shot of espresso can help prevent ALZHEIMER'S protein clumps: Study

A shot of espresso can prevent ALZHEIMER’S protein clumping in lab tests

  • Italian researchers said a high concentration of espresso helped prevent clumps
  • They said it can disrupt the formation of fibril tangles, which can be toxic
  • READ MORE: Seven surprising benefits of drinking coffee REVEALED

Whether enjoyed on its own or mixed into a latte, Americano or even a martini, espresso provides an ultra-concentrated jolt of caffeine to coffee lovers.

But it might do more than just wake you up.

Research now shows that compounds found in espresso can inhibit a process that is believed to be involved in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Although the exact mechanisms that cause Alzheimer’s and dementia are still unclear, it’s thought that a protein called tau plays a significant role.

 Research now shows that compounds found in espresso can inhibit a process that is believed to be involved in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease (stock image)

In healthy people, tau proteins help stabilize structures in the brain.

But sometimes these proteins can clump together into thread-like structures called fibrils.

Some researchers believe that preventing this formation could alleviate symptoms of dementia – or prevent it from developing in the first place.

REVEALED: Seven surprising benefits of drinking coffee 

Drinking a cup of coffee is a well-known way of boosting your energy levels at the start of the day. But the caffeinated brew also has a range of surprising health benefits.

Mariapina D’Onofrio, a biologist from the University of Verona, Italy, said: ‘Espresso coffee is among the best-known beverages worldwide, and drinking espresso has become a habit in many countries due to its pleasant taste.

‘Recent studies show that when consumed in moderation, this drink could have beneficial effects on human health thanks to its biological properties.

‘In particular, numerous studies report that moderate and, sometimes, even high coffee consumption exerts a neuroprotective effect against two of the most common neurodegenerative diseases – Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.’

To investigate, her team pulled espresso shots and incubated extracts alongside a shortened form of the tau protein in a lab for up to 40 hours.

They found that as the concentration of the espresso extract increased, the tau fibrils remained shorter and didn’t form larger ‘tangles’.

These shortened fibrils were found to be non-toxic to human cells, they discovered.

The team said many of the compounds in coffee, such as caffeine and genistein, can cross the barrier between blood and the brain to deliver protective effects.

Writing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the team said: ‘Here, we show that aggregation of the tau protein is modulated by espresso coffee extract and some of its components.

‘Based on the bioavailability of coffee components in the brain, and on the results of our study, we expect that moderate coffee consumption may provide a sufficient amount of bioactive molecules to act… as modulators of tau protein aggregation and toxicity.

‘In conclusion, we presented a large body of evidence that espresso coffee, a widely consumed beverage, is a source of natural compounds showing beneficial properties in ameliorating tau-related pathologies.’

Although much more research is needed, the team says their preliminary findings could pave the way toward finding or designing treatments against the disease.

Previous research has also suggested a link between drinking coffee and brain health.

A study published in 2021 found people who drank two to three cups of coffee and two to three cups of tea per day had a 28 percent reduced risk of developing dementia compared to those who drank none.

This group’s risk of having a stroke was also reduced by 32 percent, scientists found.

Meanwhile, a separate study found eating an ‘anti-inflammatory’ diet including coffee, tea, fruit and vegetables can cut the chances of getting dementia by a third.

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