ADELAIDE, Australia — A new study found that high coffee consumption is associated with smaller total brain volumes and an increased risk of dementia.
Researchers at the University of South Australia assessed the effects of coffee on the brain among 17,702 study participants between the ages of 37 and 73. They found that those who drank more than six cups of coffee a day had a 53% increased risk of dementia.
Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving, and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Lead researcher Kitty Pham says the study is the most extensive investigation into the connections between coffee, brain volume measurements, the risks of dementia, and the risks of stroke.
“Accounting for all possible permutations, we consistently found that higher coffee consumption was significantly associated with reduced brain volume – essentially, drinking more than six cups of coffee a day may be putting you at risk of brain diseases such as dementia and stroke,” said Pham.
While the results of the study may come as bitter news for coffee lovers, researchers say these people should focus on finding a balance between what they drink and what’s good for their health.
“This research provides vital insights about heavy coffee consumption and brain health, but as with many things in life, moderation is the key,” said Professor Elina Hyppönen, a senior investigator in the study.
Hyppönen suggests coffee drinkers stay hydrated by remembering by drinking a bit of water along with their cup of Joe.
“Typical daily coffee consumption is somewhere between one and two standard cups of coffee. Of course, while unit measures can vary, a couple of cups of coffee a day is generally fine,” said Hyppönen. “However, if you’re finding that your coffee consumption is heading up toward more than six cups a day, it’s about time you rethink your next drink.”