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Caffeine appears to be beneficial in males -- but not females -- with Lou Gehrig's disease
Date:4/16/2009

NEW ORLEANSAmyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal disease that damages key neurons in the brain and spinal cord. The disease causes progressive paralysis of voluntary muscles and often death within five years of symptoms. Although ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) was discovered over a century ago, neither the cause nor a cure have been found, but several mechanisms seem to play a role in its development, including oxidative stress.

Coffee, Caffeine and ALS

Researchers agree that ALS is a multifactorial disease that involves a complex interplay between a genetic predisposition and environmental factors. One environmental factor is diet. With oxidative stress (which damages the cells) a common concern in ALS pathology, it is worth examining what role antioxidants (which confer benefits to the cells) might play.

Antioxidants (the vitamins and nutrients that protect the cells from damage) are found in commonly consumed beverages and foods. Coffee in particular has received attention as a potent dietary antioxidant. It is worth noting that coffee has significantly more antioxidant capacity than cocoa and green, black or herbal teas. However, coffee contains several components, the largest of which are caffeine and chlorogenic acid, a dietary polyphenol that is beneficial to the immune system.

Previous studies have shown positive effects with coffee, caffeine, or chlorogenic acid supplementation in improving oxidative stress and its associated cell death mechanisms.

A New Study

A new study investigates the role of dietary intervention focused on an antioxidant popular in diets worldwide--coffee. The researchers examined the effect of coffee, caffeine and chlorogenic acid supplementation on markers of oxidative stress, antioxidant enzyme protein content and cell death in male and female mice models of ALS.

The study, entitled Caffeine Reduces Motor Performance and Antioxidant Enzyme Cap
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Contact: Donna Krupa
dkrupa@the-aps.org
703-967-2751
American Physiological Society
Source:Eurekalert

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