"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Coffee study: Caffeine mustn’t be given an excessive amount of importance

July 5, 2023 – A latest study suggests that coffee could also be superior to other sources of caffeine in relation to preparing the brain for a productive, action-packed day.

Researchers in a study published last week within the journal Limits of behavioral neuroscience The researchers compared magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the brains of 83 people before and after drinking coffee or being given caffeinated hot water. The people, who normally drink at the least one cup of coffee a day, were asked to abstain from all caffeine for at the least three hours before the experiment began.

In the 47 individuals who drank real coffee, the researchers found brain changes that went beyond those that would easily be attributed to caffeine alone.

During the MRIs, participants were told to loosen up and let their minds wander. For each groups, MRIs after drinking showed reduced activity within the brain's “default mode network,” suggesting that coffee and caffeine may help bring people out of an introspective state and prepare them to be more aware of the surface world.

In the coffee drinking group, nevertheless, the photographs showed increased activity within the brain regions related to working memory, cognitive control and goal-directed behavior.

“In simple terms, the subjects were more ready to act and more attentive to external stimuli after drinking coffee,” said researcher Maria Picó-Pérez, PhD from the University Jaume I in Spain, in response to an article within the journal Blog.

The researchers concluded that along with caffeinated hot water, every other caffeinated beverage can increase brain activity. They hypothesized that coffee may produce a sensory experience that affects the brain in another way than caffeine alone.

“Considering that some of the effects we found were reproduced by caffeine, we can assume that other caffeinated beverages also exhibit some of the effects,” said Picó-Pérez. “However, other effects were specific to coffee drinking and were induced by factors such as the particular smell and taste of the beverage or the psychological expectation associated with consuming that beverage.”

The authors identified that their study was not designed to isolate the results of coffee drinking. They said other aspects, similar to relief from caffeine withdrawal symptoms, could have influenced the outcomes. They suggested that a future study could also examine the results of decaf coffee consumption on the brain.