Caffeine has a conflicted story when it comes to boosting health. This is because caffeine is a stimulant. It can boost the performance of various systems in your body, but it can also overstimulate these same systems, causing negative health effects. Now here’s some recent health news about an unusual benefit of caffeine, courtesy of a combined research team from Montreal and Toronto, Canada: caffeine could help improve motor function in Parkinson’s patients.
Of course, other studies have already shown a positive link between caffeine and Parkinson’s disease risk. Caffeine has consistently been found to be a natural remedy that prevents Parkinson’s from taking hold in the body. However, no one has yet studied the effect of caffeine on the symptoms of Parkinson’s once it has already been diagnosed in a patient.
This was the inspiration for the Canadian research team’s study. They conducted a six-week randomized, controlled trial of caffeine in Parkinson’s patients to assess its effects upon daytime drowsiness, motor symptom severity, and other symptoms.
Parkinson’s patients with daytime drowsiness were given 100 milligrams (mg) of caffeine twice daily, for three weeks. This was followed by 200 mg twice daily for three weeks. Half of the group was given a placebo at this point to act as the control group. The researchers then measured sleepiness, fatigue, depression, quality of life, and severity of motor symptoms.
The researchers found that caffeine resulted in a non-significant reduction in sleepiness. However, daytime drowsiness improved. Caffeine also reduced the total symptoms score of the patients, along with ushering in improvements in motor function. The research team concluded that caffeine could improve motor function in Parkinson’s patients.
The reason Parkinson’s affects motor function is that both the disease and muscle control start in the brain. Your brain is responsible for orchestrating the movement of all your muscles. Parkinson’s interferes with this process by damaging certain areas of the brain.
To find out how caffeine may also exert a protective effect when it comes to Alzheimer’s, read our popular article, The Drink That Could Shield Against Dementia.