Caffeine blocks cholesterol, Alzheimers
April 4, 2008
The BBC reports that a new study in the Journal of Neuroinflammation indicates that caffeine helps prevent high levels of cholesterol from causing dangerous substances to leak across the blood-brain barrier.
“Caffeine appears to block several of the disruptive effects of cholesterol that make the blood-brain barrier leaky,” said Dr Jonathan Geiger, who led the study.
“High levels of cholesterol are a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps by compromising the protective nature of the blood brain barrier.
“Caffeine is a safe and readily available drug and its ability to stabilise the blood brain barrier means it could have an important part to play in therapies against neurological disorders.”
A spokesman for the Alzheimer’s Society said that the barrier seemed to work less efficiently in people who went on to develop Alzheimer’s or suffer strokes, and the cholesterol link might explain this.
“This is the best evidence yet that caffeine equivalent to one cup of coffee a day can help protect the brain against cholesterol.
More work needs to be done to determine if this actually applies to humans (the study was on rabbits), but in the meantime, if you’d prefer your elderly rabbits sharp and a little bit wired…