Decaf coffee energises brains

Everyone knows that coffee is a stimulant. Even Evan, the office nerd who spends his evenings communicating in Vulcan on gaming websites, knows why he drinks four espressos an evening. Caffeine hypes you up, in the short term, that much is certain. Would it blow your mind though to realise that decaffeinated coffee also energises your brain? Well it does, but in a different way to the stimulation that caffeine provides.

In people with type 2 diabetes there can be impaired energy metabolism in the brain which can lead to cognitive decline during ageing. Other neurodegenerative disorders can also cause this kind of disrupted energy production in your brain’s neurons. Whatever the cause though, disrupted brain energy roads often lead to dementia.

In a new study researchers wanted to see whether decaffeinated coffee, prior to the onset of diabetes might improve glucose use and energy metabolism in the brain.

To this end they gave decaffeinated coffee supplements to mice who eventually developed diet-induced type 2 diabetes. Compared to diabetic mice who were not given the decaf coffee the mice who were given it had improved glucose metabolism and energy production in the brain.

Coffee consumption is not for everybody. The high caffeine content of coffee makes it risky for people with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular risk factors. However, these findings suggest it is some component of coffee other than caffeine which is providing a boost for the brain’s energy production.

All of which means that you can have your decaf coffee and provided you don’t accompany it with three donuts covered in whipped cream, your brain will be happy about it. Water filter processes too mean that decaf coffee is not the chemical pot-pourri that it used to be. Tomorrow then, you can change your order and in good conscience ask for a “double decaf soy latte with a side of reduced dementia risk to go.”

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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