Coffee can cause mental health problems

Constant stress and caffeine : Study: Coffee Prevents Depression

“I shouldn't drink so much coffee!” One hears from hurried city dwellers. It just makes her irritable. The bad image is a tradition. Carl Gottlieb Hering's “Caffee” canon already warns that the dark brown drink weakens the nerves. Now, however, a study in mice suggests that the opposite is the case. Caffeine apparently blocks the mechanisms in the brain that make people forgetful and anxious in the event of chronic stress, reports a team led by Manuella Kaster from the University of Coimbra, Portugal, in the journal "PNAS".

It has long been known that stressed people drink a lot of coffee. Epidemiological studies have also shown that coffee consumers suffer less from depression or have suicidal thoughts despite constant stress. The researchers were now interested in how the protective effect comes about. The adenosine receptor A24R may play a crucial role, they said. Because this receptor is blocked by caffeine.

The mice were much better off with caffeine in the drinking water

Kaster and her colleagues exposed the mice to unpredictable stress for three weeks. The consequences were as expected: the animals gained less weight, they appeared helpless, anxious and joyless in tests, they were less able to orient themselves and had more stress hormones in their blood. Their condition resembled that of depressed people. If caffeine was added to their drinking water, however, they felt considerably better. The caffeine was of no use to unstressed mice.

The constant stress led to more adenosine receptors being formed at the junctions between the nerve cells (synapses) - and this triggered a harmful domino effect. Especially in the hippocampus, the gateway to memory, the synapses no longer functioned properly. Mice that lacked the gene for the receptor or were blocked by caffeine or KW6002 were protected. The researchers speculate that regular coffee consumption could prevent psychological disorders caused by permanent stress.

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