Coffee is a beverage drink that is favored by millions of people all over the world for its aromatic and stimulating properties. Coffee owes its properties to caffeine.
Caffeine is a colorless, crystalline substance found in coffee. It is also present in cocoa in much smaller quantity. Caffeine is a stimulant to the nervous system and is widely used in beverages such as tea and cola drinks.
The average cup of coffee made from ground coffee beans contains from 90 to 120 milligrams of caffeine; instant coffee contains only two-thirds of these amounts, and decaffeinated coffee that contains as little as 3 to 4 milligrams of caffeine are available.
When coffee is consumed moderately, it has a bracing effect and is harmless to adults in good health. But when large quantities are consumed, it can lead to insomnia. You may have experienced some insomnia if you have drunk too much coffee too close to bedtime.
Individual susceptibility to coffee is highly variable, however; some people are able to take coffee before bedtime and be able to fall asleep at once.
Scientific Research on Coffee Drinking
Drinking coffee may be able to protect you from the rogue electrons traveling through your body and damaging cells and DNA.
This damage accelerates many processes that lead to disease. The substances (antioxidants) that can mop up these rogue electrons can be very beneficial to human health.
Glutathione is probably the most important antioxidant.
Many antioxidants (such as vitamin C) can be found in food. But glutathione is produced in the body where it is used to protect us against these rogue electrons.
Increased glutathione could protect against a whole host of diseases.
There are two forms of glutathione. One is the “used form” and the other is the “useful” form.
The ratios of these two forms of glutathione are very important.
Researchers at the Department of Clinical Neurochemistry, University Hospital for Nervous Diseases in Germany looked at the relationship between these two types of glutathione in Parkinson’s disease.
The useful form of glutathione was low in the brains of people with Parkinson’s.
“Reduced glutathione concentrations were decreased in the substantia nigra of parkinsonian patients compared with controls.”
Our bodies can’t absorb glutathione if we take it orally. So boosting the production of useful glutathione is something that could be very beneficial for health.
Researchers recently discovered that coffee can boost useful glutathione levels throughout the body, including in the brain. These researchers carried out animal experiments at the University of Thessaly in Greece.
Coffee consumption is strongly associated with longer life span in humans. It seems to lower the risk of many types of cancer and other chronic diseases.
But the direct effect of coffee on living animals is not fully understood.
“Most coffee studies are either observational, or do not analyze the majority of tissues.”
This research looked at the effect of coffee extract on antioxidants in rats.
(Remember, glutathione is the most important antioxidant.)
“Coffee extract was administered for two weeks in the [drinking] water of rats to examine whether its previously observed in vitro antioxidant properties correspond to in vivo results.”
The researchers conducted experiments on many different parts of the experimental animals. Coffee seemed to improve the health of all parts of the body.
“Coffee had beneficial effects in the blood and all eleven tissues tested.”
It seems that many of the benefits of coffee are attributable to an increase in useful glutathione.
“Coffee had beneficial effects mainly by increasing reduced glutathione levels.”
The benefits of coffee were seen everywhere in the animals. But the brain benefited more from coffee than any other part of the body did.
“Interestingly, the brain was the most significantly affected tissue.”
Useful glutathione is produced in the body. The amount of useful glutathione is determined by the activity of the enzyme that produces it.
Coffee ramped up the glutathione-producing enzyme.
“The observed increase in reduced glutathione was attributed to increased levels of the rate-limiting enzyme in its biosynthetic pathway.”
The researchers used an amount of coffee equivalent to a human dose of 3 to 4 cups per day.
“The administered dose corresponds to a moderate human daily consumption of 3 to 4 cups.”
The study showed that coffee can improve the health of every part of the body by increasing glutathione.
“Moderate coffee consumption should have beneficial short-term effects in all tissues by stimulating the endogenous antioxidant mechanisms.”
The increase in glutathione from coffee might explain some of the observed health benefits related to coffee consumption.
Coffee consumption lowers the risk of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, depression, liver cancer, and skin cancer.
Coffee consumption is strongly associated with longer life span
Coffee consumption boosts the function of the brain
Coffee consumption boosts physical performance
Coffee is a diuretic—that is, it stimulates the kidneys to produce urine thereby removing excess water and salt from the body.
Reduced and Oxidized Glutathione in the Substantia Nigra of Patients with Parkinson's Disease by E. Sofic, K.W. Lange, K. Jellinger and P. Riederer
A Lightly Roasted Coffee Extract Improves Blood and Tissue Redox Status in Rats Through Enhancement of GSH Biosynthesis by Alexandros Priftis, Vasiliki Soursou et al