Caffeine is a must-have for many people to kickstart their day. For coffee lovers, having a cup of espresso helps them to wade through the morning grogginess. A new study says the drink gives you more than the obvious energy buzz.
Researchers from the University of Verona in Italy found that a complete extract of espresso can inhibit tau protein aggregation associated with Alzheimer’s.
Tau proteins help to stabilize structures of the brain in healthy people. However, with excess build-up, clumps called tau fibrils form in the brain. Tau fibrils are considered to be pathological hallmarks of several neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.
As the fibrils accumulate in the brain, patients will start exhibiting symptoms such as memory loss, poor judgment, wandering and mood changes. It is estimated that more than six million people in the U.S. live with Alzheimer’s. According to some researchers, preventing the buildup is the key to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Espresso is a method of coffee brewing, which originated in Italy, by forcing boiled water to pass through finely ground coffee under pressure. It is one of the most consumed beverages in the world and makes up the base of many types of coffee including espresso martini.
In the latest study, researchers initially examined the molecular composition of the espresso coffee extract and identified the main components. They then conducted in vitro and in-cell experiments to evaluate the impact of coffee on brain regions.
The study revealed that “the whole coffee extract, caffeine and genistein have biological properties in preventing aggregation, condensation and seeding activity of the repeat region of tau.”
Espresso compounds not only prevented the tau build-up but were also capable of binding to preformed tau fibrils. With increasing concentrations of espresso extract, and with an increase in caffeine or genistein compounds, the tau fibrils were shorter. The most dramatic effect was found with the use of the complete extract of espresso.
Researchers hope the study will pave the way for designing bioactive compounds that can work against neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s.
Published by Medicaldaily.com