CAFFEINATED

You risk poor brain health if you consume excess coffee

Dizziness, dementia and addiction are some of the concerns.

In Summary

• Caffeine narrows blood vessels that surround the brain, when consumption is stopped, the blood vessels enlarge causing an increase in blood flow around the brain and pressure the surrounding nerves.

• Researchers from the University of South Australia found that people drinking four or more cups a day had a 53 per cent higher chance of getting dementia than those who drunk one or two cups.

Java's Cappuccino
Java's Cappuccino
Image: MARGARET WANJIRU

Carol Njeri, 29, was a heavy coffee drinker a year ago.

In a day, she would consume over four cups of coffee but everything changed after she started feeling dizzy awhile after she took a cup.

“I thought I was anemic, but after some blood work, everything was working okay. A friend advised me to reduce my coffee in take and that is when everything changed,” Njeri told the Star on Friday.

“It was hard quitting but after 4 months, the headache and dizziness stopped.”

Many of us enjoy a cup of coffee or two throughout the day, but a new study suggests that too much of it could shrink the brain volume and increase the risk of developing dementia if consumed over a long period of time.

Black coffee doesn’t appear to have many down sides when consumed in moderation.

Don't let your brain rely on coffee to operate
Don't let your brain rely on coffee to operate
Image: Courtesy: Pinterest

 However, too much caffeine can cause uncomfortable side effects like insomnia, anxiety, rapid heart rate, stomach upset, headache or constant dizziness.

If you experience such symptoms after drinking coffee, experts say you may be sensitive to caffeine and should consider cutting your intake or avoiding the caffeine altogether.

Researchers from the university of South Australia found that people drinking 4 or more cups a day had 53% higher chance of getting dementia than those who drunk one or two cups.

After following variables like sex, age, BMI and long standing illnesses, researchers found a relationship between drinking more coffee and smaller total brain volumes in participants, as well as the increased risk of dementia.

Although brain shrinkage is also something that tends to happen naturally as we get older, and some studies suggest that there may be a connection between volume and dementia.

Coffee and dementia
Coffee and dementia
Image: Courtesy: Pinterest

It is not yet clear is why this happens and there's plenty more research to be done into how caffeine and coffee interact with brain cells, whether those interactions end up being positive or negative.

They found out that it was possible that the way caffeine binds to the adenosine receptors in the brain is one way these changes happen, though they could also be caused less directly through coffee's impact on other parts of the body such as the cardiovascular system.

When caffeine is consumed regularly, the body becomes dependent on its effects.

Image: Courtesy: Healthline

Caffeine then narrows blood vessels that surround the brain, when consumption is stopped, the blood vessels enlarge.

This then causes an increase in blood flow around the brain and pressures the surrounding nerves.

This research provides vital insights about heavy coffee consumption and brain health, but as with many things in life, moderation is the key.” said Professor Elina Hyppönen, one of the researcher.

“Together with other genetic evidence and a randomized controlled trial, these data strongly suggest that high coffee consumption can adversely affect brain health.”

“While the exact mechanisms are not known, one simple thing we can do is to keep hydrated and remember to drink a bit of water alongside that cup of coffee.”

Remember to always hydrate after a cup of coffee.

The findings were published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience.