Mice Study Reveals Coffee May Benefit Men with ALS

Articles
May 19, 2009

Mice Study Reveals Coffee May Benefit Men with ALS

Coffee may be beneficial for men with ALS, reducing oxidative stress (cell damage) and cell death, according to Canadian researchers in findings presented at the Experimental Biology 2009 scientific conference held last week in New Orleans at the 122nd annual meeting of the American Physiological Society (APS). The immune system is compromised by ALS, a disease with a very complex interplay between environmental factors and a genetic predisposition for the disease. The one environmental factor that can be controlled is diet and antioxidants are well known contributors to good health because they protect cells from damage. Coffee contains high quantities of antioxidants and is considered a "potent dietary addition" over cocoa, green or black tea, or herbal beverages. The researchers investigated the impact on markers of cell damage (oxidative stress), antioxidant enzyme protein content, and cell death from three elements: coffee, caffeine, and chlorogenic acid, a dietary polyphenol that aids the immune system. The experiments were done on male and female mice models of ALS. The 51 mice were randomly divided into eight groups, some with a standard rodent diet and no supplements and others with supplements of extracts of the three items (coffee, caffeine, and chlorogenic acid). The supplements were comparable to five to 10 cups of coffee per day controlled for body weight.

Coffee may be beneficial for men with ALS, reducing oxidative stress (cell damage) and cell death, according to Canadian researchers in findings presented at the Experimental Biology 2009 scientific conference held last week in New Orleans at the 122nd annual meeting of the American Physiological Society (APS).

The immune system is compromised by ALS, a disease with a very complex interplay between environmental factors and a genetic predisposition for the disease. The one environmental factor that can be controlled is diet and antioxidants are well known contributors to good health because they protect cells from damage. Coffee contains high quantities of antioxidants and is considered a "potent dietary addition" over cocoa, green or black tea, or herbal beverages.

The researchers investigated the impact on markers of cell damage (oxidative stress), antioxidant enzyme protein content, and cell death from three elements: coffee, caffeine, and chlorogenic acid, a dietary polyphenol that aids the immune system.

The experiments were done on male and female mice models of ALS. The 51 mice were randomly divided into eight groups, some with a standard rodent diet and no supplements and others with supplements of extracts of the three items (coffee, caffeine, and chlorogenic acid). The supplements were comparable to five to 10 cups of coffee per day controlled for body weight. 

Assessed were ability to move, motor performance, body weight and condition. Molecular measures were analyzed using the brains of the mice at age 108 days. The results were:

Coffee decreased markers of oxidative stress (cell damage) by 39 to 65%; increased markers of antioxidant enzyme protein content 46 to139%, and decreased markers of cell death by 34 to 36% on the male subjects.

Caffeine decreased oxidative stress markers 45 to 80%; antioxidant enzyme protein content was increased 21 to 99% and cell death decreased 17 to 22%.

Chlorogenic acid decreased markers of cell damage 25 to 35%; increased markers for antioxidant enzyme proteins 23 to 44% and decreased actual cell death 41 to 44%.

All three components increased food intake by the mice, especially the female subjects. All three components had either considerably less or no impact on female subjects.

By extrapolating the results to human ALS patients, the researchers said, coffee is viewed as beneficial for men ALS patients, however, women with ALS may be cautioned not to drink caffeinated beverages but opt for decaffeinated ones. .

ALS is a fatal disease that damages key neurons in the brain and spinal cord and oxidative stress (cell damage) is one of several mechanisms that impact the progress of the disease known medically as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It is more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, so named for the Yankee baseball great who died from it in 1941. Although the disease was first identified more than a century ago, neither the cause nor the cure has been discovered.

Physiology is the study of how molecules, cells, tissues, and organs function to create health or disease. The APS was established in 1887.

SOURCE: Caffeine Reduces Motor Performance and Antioxidant Enzyme Capacity in the Brain of Female G93A Mice, An Animal Model of ALS, conducted by Ms. Rajini Seevaratnam, supervised by Mazen J. Hamadeh, and co-authored by Sandeep Raha and Mark A. Tarnopolsky of the School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Department of Pediatrics and Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.