Last updated on Jul 7th, 2020 at 02:45 pm

If your motto is, ‘First coffee, then workee,’ you could benefit from certain compounds in coffee that help fight Parkinson’s disease

Rutgers scientists have great news for coffee junkies – they have found a compound in coffee that may team up with caffeine to fight Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia – two progressive and currently incurable diseases associated with brain degeneration.

The discovery suggests these two compounds combined may become a therapeutic option to slow down brain degeneration.

Prior research has shown that drinking coffee may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

This is according to lead author M. Maral Mouradian, director of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Institute for Neurological Therapeutics and William Dow Lovett Professor of Neurology.

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Coffee contains over 1 000 identified compounds

While caffeine has traditionally been credited as coffee’s special protective agent, coffee beans contain more than a thousand other compounds that are less well known.

The Rutgers study focused on a fatty acid derivative of the neurotransmitter serotonin, called EHT (eicosanoyl-5-hydroxytryptamide), found in the coffee bean’s waxy coating.

The researchers found that EHT protects the brains of mice against the abnormal protein accumulation associated with Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia.

In the current research, Mouradian’s team asked whether EHT and caffeine could work together for even greater brain protection. They gave mice either small doses of caffeine or EHT separately, or the two together.

Each compound alone was not effective, but when given together they boosted the activity of a catalyst that helps prevent the accumulation of harmful proteins in the brain. This suggests the combination of EHT and caffeine may be able to slow or stop the progression of these diseases.

Coffee may protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease

Over-caffeinating is not a good idea

“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,” explains Mouradian.

What is Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia?

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that can lead to shaking, stiffness and difficulty with walking, balance and coordination.

Lewy body dementia, one of the most common forms of dementia, causes problems with thinking, behaviour, mood and movement.

Source: Rutgers University via