Regular Caffeine Intake – From Coffee, Coke, or Energy Drinks – Affects Brain Structure

No doubt – Caffeine helps most of us to be more awake. However, taking it in the evening can interfere with sleep. As previous studies have shown, sleep deprivation can affect the gray matter of the brain. So does regular caffeine intake affect the structure of the brain due to sleep deprivation? A research team led by Dr. Carolyn Leikart and Professor Christian Kayohen of the University of Basel and UPK (University of Basel Psychiatric Hospital) One study investigated this issue.

The result was amazing. Taking caffeine as part of my research did not cause sleep deprivation.However, researchers observed changes in gray matter, as reported in the journal. Cerebral cortexGray matter refers to the part of the central nervous system that is mainly composed of the cell bodies of nerve cells, and white matter mainly constitutes the nerve pathways that are long extensions of nerve cells.

Daily intake of caffeine is a part of everyday life for many. However, regular intake of caffeine seems to change the structure of the brain.

A group of 20 healthy young people, all of whom drink coffee on a daily basis, participated in the study. He was given tablets to be taken twice for 10 days and was told not to take any other caffeine during this time. During one study period, they received caffeinated pills. The other is a tablet (placebo) that does not contain the active ingredient. At the end of each of the 10-day periods, researchers used brain scans to determine the amount of gray material in the subjects. They also investigated the sleep quality of participants in sleep laboratories by recording electroencephalographic activity (EEG).

Does not affect sleep, but does not affect gray matter

A comparison of the data revealed that participants’ sleep depth was comparable regardless of whether they took caffeine or placebo capsules. However, there was a significant difference in gray matter depending on whether the subject took caffeine or placebo. After 10 days of placebo, or “caffeine abstinence,” the amount of gray matter was higher than after the same period with caffeine capsules.

The difference was particularly pronounced in the right medial temporal lobe, which includes the hippocampus, an area of ​​the brain that is essential for memory consolidation. “Our results do not necessarily mean that caffeine intake has a negative effect on the brain,” Reichert emphasizes. “But daily caffeine intake clearly affects our cognitive hardware, which in itself should trigger further research.” She said that so far the health effects of caffeine have primarily affected patients. It has been investigated in subjects, but he adds that healthy subjects also need to be investigated.

Caffeine appears to reduce the amount of gray matter, but after only 10 days of coffee abstinence, the subject’s gray matter relapsed significantly. “Although changes in brain morphology appear to be temporary, systematic comparisons between coffee drinkers and those who usually consume little or no caffeine have been lacking so far. “I do,” says Reichert.

References: “Daily Caffeine Intake Induces Concentration-Dependent Medial Temporal Plasticity in Humans: A Multimodal Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial” Yu-Shiuan Lin, Janine Weibel, Hans-Peter Landolt, Francesco Santini, Martin Meyer, Julia Brunmair, Samuel M Meier-Menches, Christopher Gerner, Stefan Borgwardt, Christian Cajochen, Carolina Reichert, February 15, 2021, Cerebral cortex..
DOI: 10.1093 / cercor / bhab005 Regular Caffeine Intake – From Coffee, Coke, or Energy Drinks – Affects Brain Structure

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