In lab testing, a dose of espresso helps prevent ALZHEIMER’S protein clumping.

Research now shows that compounds found in espresso may inhibit a process believed to be involved in the onset of Alzheimer's disease (stock image)

Coffee lovers can benefit from more than just a caffeine boost, as research shows that substances found in a shot of espresso may help prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

A study shows that a cup of coffee can inhibit a process believed to be involved in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

While the exact mechanisms that cause Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are still unclear, a protein called tau is believed to play an important role.

In healthy people, tau proteins help stabilize structures in the brain.

But these proteins can clump together into thread-like structures called fibrils.

Research now shows that compounds in espresso may inhibit a process believed to be involved in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease (stock image)

Some researchers believe that preventing this formation could alleviate the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease — or even prevent it from developing.

Mariapina D’Onofrio, a biologist from the University of Verona, Italy, said: ‘Espresso coffee is one of the most famous drinks in the world and drinking espresso has become a habit in many countries because of its pleasant taste.

‘Recent studies show that this drink, when consumed in moderation, can have beneficial effects on human health due to its biological properties.

“In particular, numerous studies report that moderate and sometimes even high coffee consumption has a neuroprotective effect against two of the most common neurodegenerative diseases – Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.”

To investigate, her team pulled espresso shots and incubated extracts along with a shortened form of the tau protein in a lab for up to 40 hours.

They found that as the concentration of the espresso extract increased, the tau fibrils stayed shorter and did not form larger ‘tangles’.

These shortened fibrils were found not to be toxic to human cells.

The team said many of the compounds in coffee, such as caffeine and genistein, can cross the barrier between the blood and the brain to deliver protective effects.

Write in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistrysaid the team: ‘Here we show that aggregation of the tau protein is modulated by espresso coffee extract and some of its components.

‘Based on the bioavailability of coffee components in the brain, and on the results of our study, we expect that moderate coffee consumption may yield enough bioactive molecules to act… as modulators of tau protein aggregation and toxicity.

‘In conclusion, we have presented a large body of evidence that espresso, a widely consumed beverage, is a source of natural compounds that show beneficial properties in ameliorating tau-related pathologies.’

While much more research is needed, the team says their preliminary findings could pave the way for finding or designing treatments for the disease.

Previous research has also suggested a link between drinking coffee and brain health. A study published in 2021 found that people who drank two to three cups of coffee and two to three cups of tea a day were 28 percent less likely to develop dementia than those who drank none.

This group’s risk of stroke was also reduced by 32 percent, scientists found.

Meanwhile, a separate study found that eating an “anti-inflammatory” diet, including coffee, tea, fruits and vegetables, could cut the risk of dementia by a third.