Many people rely on a cup of coffee to sharpen their brain ahead of a busy day, but a new study has found that drinking too much coffee can have a detrimental effect on the brain.
The study, carried out by the Australian Centre for Precision Health at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, found that drinking six or more cups of coffee per day was linked to a 53 per cent increased risk of dementia, as well as significantly increasing the risk of a stroke.
Scientists used brain imaging to also establish that heavy coffee consumption was also associated with brain shrinkage.
The study, which was published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, was the largest of its kind to be carried out, based on 17,702 participants aged between 30 and 37.
“Coffee is among the most popular drinks in the world. Yet with global consumption being more than nine billion kilograms a year, it’s critical that we understand any potential health implications,” said Kitty Pham, a PhD candidate at the University of South Australia, who led the team of international researchers.
“This is the most extensive investigation into the connections between coffee, brain volume measurements, the risks of dementia, and the risks of stroke – it’s also the largest study to consider volumetric brain imaging data and a wide range of confounding factors.
“Accounting for all possible permutations, we consistently found that higher coffee consumption was significantly associated with reduced brain volume,” she said. “Essentially, drinking more than six cups of coffee a day may be putting you at risk of brain diseases such as dementia and stroke.”