Coffee helps focus the mind, right? According to a 2021 study, a cup of coffee in the morning could actually provide the exact opposite effect.
This study involved 32 daily coffee drinkers, and 24 none coffee drinkers, and gave them each a questionnaire which measured levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Then, each person received a resting state functional MRI which measured connectivity in several parts of the brain.
The 32 coffee drinkers showed less functional connectivity in the somatosensory, and the limbic. The somatosensory processes sensations such as pressure, pain, and warmth. The limbic processes memory formation and other emotional responses. They also had less connectivity in the subcortical and posterior brain regions. These are made up of motor and emotional processing, the visual network, and the cerebellum.
There was a clear association between coffee consumption frequency and reduced connectivity among the coffee drinkers. Actually, the more coffee consumed, the less connectivity had in the areas of the brain. Coffee drinkers also showed higher stress and anxiety.
The second part of the study looked at non coffee drinkers. They were asked to drink a cup of coffee and imaged their brains for a second time. This scan showed altered activity in the same areas of the brain as the coffee drinker scan showed, which suggests that coffee is responsible for this reduced brain connectivity, rather than the individual’s problem.
We are not here to say stop drinking your coffee or that coffee is bad for you. Afterall, this is only one study. This is why many follow up studies are conducted with larger groups and variables. As more research is found, more scientists and researchers will conduct meta analyses and come up with more firm conclusions.
There is a lot of research that does suggest that drinking up to 3.5 cups of coffee per day could be connected with a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, death from cardiovascular disease, early death, and a lower risk for some cancers and conditions that affect metabolic health and liver function. There are pros and cons to everything!
The most recent data suggests that coffee is most likely beneficial in many different ways, and it’s totally acceptable to enjoy the beverage in moderation, just like anything else. As always, if you are having any pain, reach out to us today for an appointment!