Caffeine can be found in a variety of drinks and even food that we eat today. It is one of those things that people can’t live without. People spend a lot of money just to have their coffee fix throughout the day.
Coffee, in fact, is a widely popular stimulant. A lot of businesses make money through coffee. We start our day drinking coffee, and even purchase overpriced coffee from different stores. But what if it can also have its own medical use?
Could it be possible that caffeine can help slow down the progression of Parkinson’s disease? There are a number of studies that support this claim.
What’s Parkinson’s Disease?
For starters, Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurologic disorder. It affects approximately one million individuals in the US alone. Among the most common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include extrapyramidal movements, slurred speech and impaired balance.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. It means that it will progress and simply get worse. What’s the cause of Parkinson’s disease? The cause of this particular condition is still unknown. Though there are people who are more prone to this condition. For instance, you have people suffering from head trauma that develop Parkinson’s disease.
It has also been discovered that alpha-synuclein plays a role in the development and progression of the condition. The a-synuclein misfolds have been discovered to form Lewy bodies. Lewy bodies destroy the dopamine producing cells are commonly found among patients with Parkinson’s disease.
How does coffee help?
It is a common concept in medicating Parkinson’s disease to increase the amount of dopamine to minimize the symptoms of the condition. However, what if there are no more cells that produce dopamine? This is when it can get a bit tricky. According to research, caffeine can block a-synuclein protein. Therefore, you maintain the number of cells that produce dopamine.
The researchers from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada are developing two caffeine based compounds that could potentially help stop the protein from clumping.
It has been discovered before in different studies that drinking coffee and other caffeinated drinks have a protective effect against Parkinson’s disease. There are also other compounds being tested including nicotine, metformin and aminoindan.
The study is still in its early stages. Could it be used on humans in the future? Or perhaps, could it be used as a standard medication for those suffering from Parkinson’s disease? Only time will tell. There are still a lot of things that should be discussed before it becomes a standard practice to use caffeine based drugs to treat Parkinson’s disease.