For most it’s a necessity — a morning ritual that gives you a boost.
But now a team of experts say your morning cup of Joe could be helping to prevent the onset of dementia.
Caffeine is one of 24 compounds that helps protect against Alzheimer’s disease, they found.
The chemicals help boost a key enzyme in the brain — and could pave the way for new drugs to combat the devastating condition.
Professor Hui-Chen Lu, from Indiana University, said: “This work could help advance efforts to develop drugs that increase levels of this enzyme in the brain.
“It could create a chemical 'blockade' against the debilitating effects of neurodegenerative disorders.”
The enzyme, known by it’s scientific name NMNAT2, plays two roles in the brain.
It protects and guards neurons from stress.
And it acts to combat proteins called tau, which build up in the brain as plaques — one of the known common signs of Alzheimer’s.
There are more than 850,000 people in the United Kingdom living with dementia, yet currently there is no cure.
By 2025, that number is expected to rise to more than one million, and by 2050 will soar to two million, experts predict.