According to a recent study, coffee can protect the brain against Parkinson’s disease. The study has found those compounds in coffee which bless it with its neuroprotective powers. These findings may help the researchers in the future to practice new treatments. Approximately 60,000 people are targeted with Parkinson’s disease every year in the United States. Some common symptoms of this disease include stiffness and hassles in balance and coordination.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease and does not have any treatment. So far the treatments are only found to be effective in managing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. However, the researchers are successful in finding out the neurological changes taking place during the disease.
One of the most observant changes is the buildup of a protein in the brain. This buildup eventually leads cell’s death and triggering of the symptoms of the Parkinson’s disease.
What this misfolded protein does is it combines with other compounds and forms Lewy bodies. The protein which performs this function is alpha-synuclein. It has the ability to travel from neuron to neuron and damaging the different parts of the brain in its way.
Parkinson’s and Coffee
Many previous studies exist which suggest that coffee could help the person with Parkinson’s disease. It might appear behind this amazing fact it is caffeine which is playing this beneficial role but in fact, there are many other compounds in coffee which are taking part in this fight. Some studies also showed in its findings that decaffeinated coffee also provides the same protection to neurodegeneration in the model of Parkinson’s disease.
There are hundreds of beneficial and harmful compounds in coffee which can easily interact with the biochemical reactions of the body. Among these hundreds of beneficial compounds researchers considered and studied a compound called eicosanoyl-5-hydroxytryptamide (EHT).
EHT is commonly found on the outer waxy coating of the beans, it is a fatty acid derivative of compound serotonin. No link has been found between caffeine and EHT up till yet. Some previous studies have already focused on its neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties.
The researchers from the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Institute for Neurological Therapeutics in Piscataway, NJ published the findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Joining Molecular Forces
Researchers were eager to know whether caffeine and EHT both have the capability to work together against Parkinson’s disease. In order to understand this, the researchers fed some mice with EHT, some with Caffeine and some were given both. Then they observed which group of mice was more proved to be more efficient in reducing the buildup of the protein, alpha-synuclein linked with Parkinson’s disease.
The researchers found that none of the mice was able to show the power of reducing alpha-synuclein when they were fed with EHT and caffeine alone. However, the group of mice who consumed EHT and caffeine both showed significant progress. The researchers also observed that the mice who were fed with both the compounds also showed a better performance in behavioral tests.
As there are no such treatments now which can fight against Parkinson’s disease, this new finding paves a new way for drug researchers.
More Research is Still Needed
Although these are the early days of this new fresh finding, but the researchers are eager to continue their work. Their future plan is to know and investigate the adequate composition of both the compounds needed to fight against the symptoms of the disease.
M. Maral Mouradian, lead author of the study said: “EHT is a compound found in various types of coffee, but the amount varies. It is important that the appropriate amount and ratio be determined so people don’t over-caffeinate themselves, as that can have negative health consequences.”
The researchers believe, to hunt down the other beneficial compounds of coffee will surely take some time because coffee is a complex cocktail. According to them, “it is not unlikely that other components of coffee play a beneficial role as well.”
The researchers also explain that every cup of coffee cannot have exact components. The exact makeup of the coffee highly depends on many factors like the origin of the coffee beans, techniques used to harvest, roast and brew them.