Get special offers, recipes, health news, PLUS our FREE seafood cooking guide! I'm on Board Hide 
Got it, thanks! Click here for your FREE seafood cooking guide & recipes e-booklet.Hide 
Youtube Pintrest Facebook Twitter
Coffee and Tea May Reduce Stress
Caffeine helped mice stay cool; Curcumin may reverse the damaging brain effects of chronic stress

07/16/2015 By Craig Weatherby

So-called "energy” drinks have given caffeine a bad name.

 
Some people, especially teens and young adults, guzzle the stuff.
 
And some energy-drink fans get heart palpitations and break out in a sweat.
 
No surprise there. As they say, "duh”!
 
Other people are kept awake by even small amounts of coffee, tea, or caffeinated soda.
 
Caffeine's effects are generally benign-to-beneficial, and problems with it usually relate to overuse or an innate hypersensitivity.
 
For example, see Caffeine May Curb Diabetes.
 
Routine, moderate caffeine consumption may also help delay age-related cognitive decline and alleviate certain effects of Parkinson's disease and various forms of dementia including Alzheimer's disease.
 
For more about the encouraging evidence on that front, see Caffeine May Boost Brain Power and Deflect Dementia.
 
Why do many stressed out people find caffeine calming?
We humans seem to instinctively self-medicate to reduce the effects of stress.
 
But all too often, we choose alcohol or other damaging drugs. 
 
Epidemiological studies show that people exposed to repeated stress raise their caffeine intake.
 
And relatively high caffeine intake has been linked to a reduced risk for depression or suicide (Lara DR 2010; Omagari K et al. 2014; Lucas M et al. 2014)
 
For example, Harvard Medical School researchers found that among more than 50,000 female nurses, those who reported drinking two or more cups of coffee a day were less likely to get depressed (Lucas M et al. 2011).
 
Decaffeinated coffee did not have the same effect.
 
However, the reason for the apparent protective effects of caffeine against depression has been unclear.
 
Strong evidence suggests that caffeine alleviates chronic stress in part by increasing brain levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
 
This may explain why caffeine can alleviate some symptoms of Parkinson's disease, which are caused by deficiencies in dopamine production.
 
Recently, researchers tested the effects of caffeine in mice exposed to chronic, unpredictable stress.
 
Their findings lend support to the idea that caffeine can ease stress, and they further illuminate the role of neurotransmitters in stress.
 
Mouse study links caffeine to reduced stress, and reveals why
The new experiment comes from scientists at Boston University and colleagues from Portugal, Germany, and Brazil (Kaster MP et al. 2015).
 
They found that caffeine helped the animals remain relaxed in stressful situations … and their experiment also pinpointed the neurochemical pathways involved in caffeine's beneficial effects on stress.
 
Caffeine tends to block brain-cell receptors for the neurotransmitter called adenosine.
 
The role of adenosine varies, depending on what brain cell receptor it hits, and the locations of those receptors.
 
Adenosine 2A receptors in the hippocampus – the brain's memory center – seem to be related to stress as well as to Alzheimer's disease.
 
The researchers behind the new study found that adenosine 2A receptors in the hippocampus help regulate the negative effects of chronic stress … and that stress-induced behavior can be reversed by blocking the receptors.
 
And this landmark study is the first to reveal how – by blocking adenosine 2A receptors – caffeine may prevent some of the negative effects of chronic stress.
 
The international team suggest that their findings may lead to medical therapies for stress-related illnesses.
 
Of course, stress is a normal human reaction to events, and the last thing we need is another psychiatric drug that ignores the root of the problem.
 
But it's often difficult to remove the source of the stress.
 
In such cases, it makes sense to reduce the tendency for chronic stress to trigger damaging and counterproductive physiological and psychological responses.
 
In other words, the take away from this preliminary study may be that people under stress should try drinking coffee or tea … not wine, beer, or cocktails.
 
Can curcumin help too?
The bright-orange antioxidant pigment in turmeric – called curcumin – may also be a key ally against the effects of chronic stress.
 
A remarkable series of studies by scientists at Peking University and the University of Florida found that supplemental curcumin actually reversed the learning and memory disturbances produced by chronic stress (Xu Y et al. 2006; Xu Y et al. 2007; Xu Y et al. 2009; Xu Y et al. 2011).
 
Unlike caffeine however, curcumin appears to reduce brain damage caused by the stress hormone cortisol.
 
And like omega-3 fatty acids, curcumin's anti-stress benefits come in part from its ability to raise brain levels of a chemical called BDNF, which increases "neuro-plasticity” … a very good thing.
 
So it may be a good idea to enjoy plenty of curry, tea, and coffee!
 
 
Sources
  • Batalha VL, Pego JM, Fontinha BM, Costenla AR, Valadas JS, Baqi Y, Radjainia H, Müller CE, Sebastião AM, Lopes LV. Adenosine A(2A) receptor blockade reverts hippocampal stress-induced deficits and restores corticosterone circadian oscillation. Mol Psychiatry. 2013 Mar;18(3):320-31. doi: 10.1038/mp.2012.8. Epub 2012 Feb 28.
  • Cognato GP, Agostinho PM, Hockemeyer J, Müller CE, Souza DO, Cunha RA. Caffeine and an adenosine A(2A) receptor antagonist prevent memory impairment and synaptotoxicity in adult rats triggered by a convulsive episode in early life. J Neurochem. 2010 Jan;112(2):453-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2009.06465.x. Epub 2009 Oct 30.
  • Costa J, Lunet N, Santos C, Santos J, Vaz-Carneiro A. Caffeine exposure and the risk of Parkinson's disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20 Suppl 1:S221-38. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-091525. Review. 
  • Costenla AR, Cunha RA, de Mendonça A. Caffeine, adenosine receptors, and synaptic plasticity. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20 Suppl 1:S25-34. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-091384. Review.
  • Cunha RA, Agostinho PM. Chronic caffeine consumption prevents memory disturbance in different animal models of memory decline. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20 Suppl 1:S95-116. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-1408. Review.
  • Eskelinen MH, Kivipelto M. Caffeine as a protective factor in dementia and Alzheimer's disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20 Suppl 1:S167-74. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-1404.
  • Espinosa J, Rocha A, Nunes F, Costa MS, Schein V, Kazlauckas V, Kalinine E, Souza DO, Cunha RA, Porciúncula LO. Caffeine consumption prevents memory impairment, neuronal damage, and adenosine A2A receptors upregulation in the hippocampus of a rat model of sporadic dementia. J Alzheimers Dis. 2013;34(2):509-18. doi: 10.3233/JAD-111982.
  • Giuliano V. Neurogenesis, curcumin and longevity. August 24, 2010. Accessed at http://www.anti-agingfirewalls.com/2010/08/24/neurogenesis-curcumin-and-longevity/
  • Kaster MP, Machado NJ, Silva HB, Nunes A, Ardais AP, Santana M, Baqi Y, Müller CE, Rodrigues AL, Porciúncula LO, Chen JF, Tomé ÂR, Agostinho P, Canas PM, Cunha RA. Caffeine acts through neuronal adenosine A2A receptors to prevent mood and memory dysfunction triggered by chronic stress. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Jun 23;112(25):7833-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1423088112. Epub 2015 Jun 8.
  • Lara DR. Caffeine, mental health, and psychiatric disorders. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20 Suppl 1:S239-48. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-1378. Review.
  • Li W, Silva HB, Real J, Wang YM, Rial D, Li P, Payen MP, Zhou Y, Muller CE, Tomé AR, Cunha RA, Chen JF. Inactivation of adenosine A2A receptors reverses working memory deficits at early stages of Huntington's disease models. Neurobiol Dis. 2015 Jul;79:70-80. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2015.03.030. Epub 2015 Apr 16.
  • Lucas M, Mirzaei F, Pan A, Okereke OI, Willett WC, O'Reilly ÉJ, Koenen K, Ascherio A. Coffee, caffeine, and risk of depression among women. Arch Intern Med. 2011 Sep 26;171(17):1571-8. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2011.393.
  • Lucas M, O'Reilly EJ, Pan A, Mirzaei F, Willett WC, Okereke OI, Ascherio A. Coffee, caffeine, and risk of completed suicide: results from three prospective cohorts of American adults. World J Biol Psychiatry. 2014 Jul;15(5):377-86. doi: 10.3109/15622975.2013.795243. Epub 2013 Jul 2.
  • Omagari K, Sakaki M, Tsujimoto Y, Shiogama Y, Iwanaga A, Ishimoto M, Yamaguchi A, Masuzumi M, Kawase M, Ichimura M, Yoshitake T, Miyahara Y. Coffee consumption is inversely associated with depressive status in Japanese patients with type 2 diabetes. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2014 Sep;55(2):135-42. doi: 10.3164/jcbn.14-30. Epub 2014 Jul 31.
  • Prediger RD, Batista LC, Takahashi RN. Caffeine reverses age-related deficits in olfactory discrimination and social recognition memory in rats. Involvement of adenosine A1 and A2A receptors. Neurobiol Aging. 2005 Jun;26(6):957-64.
  • Rebola N, Simões AP, Canas PM, Tomé AR, Andrade GM, Barry CE, Agostinho PM, Lynch MA, Cunha RA. Adenosine A2A receptors control neuroinflammation and consequent hippocampal neuronal dysfunction. J Neurochem. 2011 Apr;117(1):100-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2011.07178.x. Epub 2011 Feb 9.
  • Santos C, Costa J, Santos J, Vaz-Carneiro A, Lunet N. Caffeine intake and dementia: systematic review and meta-analysis. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20 Suppl 1:S187-204. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-091387. Review.
  • Santos C, Lunet N, Azevedo A, de Mendonça A, Ritchie K, Barros H. Caffeine intake is associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline: a cohort study from Portugal. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20 Suppl 1:S175-85. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-091303.
  • Takahashi RN, Pamplona FA, Prediger RD. Adenosine receptor antagonists for cognitive dysfunction: a review of animal studies. Front Biosci. 2008 Jan 1;13:2614-32. Review.
  • Yin YQ, Zhang C, Wang JX, Hou J, Yang X, Qin J. and in an and will you and a is as is you and you will Chronic caffeine treatment enhances the resilience to social defeat stress in mice. Food Funct. 2015 Feb;6(2):479-91. doi: 10.1039/c4fo00702f.
  • Xu Y, Lin D, Li S, Li G, Shyamala SG, Barish PA, Vernon MM, Pan J, Ogle WO. Curcumin reverses impaired cognition and neuronal plasticity induced by chronic stress. Neuropharmacology. 2009 Sep;57(4):463-71. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2009.06.010. Epub 2009 Jun 21.
  • Xu Y, Li S, Vernon MM, Pan J, Chen L, Barish PA, Zhang Y, Acharya AP, Yu J, Govindarajan SS, Boykin E, Pan X, O'Donnell JM, Ogle WO. Curcumin prevents corticosterone-induced neurotoxicity and abnormalities of neuroplasticity via 5-HT receptor pathway. J Neurochem. 2011 Sep;118(5):784-95. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2011.07356.x. Epub 2011 Jul 18.
  • Xu Y, Ku B, Tie L, Yao H, Jiang W, Ma X, Li X. Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB. Brain Res. 2006 Nov 29;1122(1):56-64. Epub 2006 Oct 3.
  • Xu Y, Ku B, Cui L, Li X, Barish PA, Foster TC, Ogle WO. Curcumin reverses impaired hippocampal neurogenesis and increases serotonin receptor 1A mRNA and brain-derived neurotrophic factor expression in chronically stressed rats. Brain Res. 2007 Aug 8;1162:9-18. Epub 2007 Jun 21.