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Decaffeinated coffee might boost brain power for Type 2 diabetics

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Decaffeinated coffee helps diabetic mice metabolize glucose in the brain.

Decaffeinated coffee could help patients living with Type 2 diabetes. According to researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, decaf coffee was found to improve glucose energy metabolism in the brain in mouse studies.

Type 2 diabetes is linked to cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease that stems from impaired breakdown of glucose needed for optimal brain function.

The study is the first to show decaffeinated coffee might prevent and treat declining memory associated with Type 2 diabetes, aging and neurodegenerative disorders.

For the study researchers gave mice induced to develop diabetes a decaf coffee supplement for five months and then evaluated the mouse brain’s genetic response to the treatment. The result was increased ability of the brain to metabolize glucose.

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Giulio Maria Pasinetti, MD, PhD, Professor of Neurology, and Psychiatry, at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, says it’s important to find ways to prevent cognitive decline from neurodegenerative diseases. Studies show pathological changes in the brain occur decades before Alzheimer’s and other diseases develop. He also notes the study shows not all of the health benefits associated with coffee come from caffeine.

It’s important to note that coffee can have negative cardiovascular effects and is linked to elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels, making consumption risky for some.

Pasinetti plans to explore whether decaffeinated coffee could be useful as a dietary supplement in humans to prevent or even treat memory loss associated with Type 2 diabetes and other brain disorders. The study showed decaffeinated coffee supplements boosted brain power in mice with Type 2 diabetes.

Nutritional Neuroscience: doi.org/10.1179/1476830511Y.0000000027
“Dietary supplementation with decaffeinated green coffee improves diet-induced insulin resistance and brain energy metabolism in mice”
H. Lap et al.
January, 2012

Image credit: Morguefile