This is something we all know anyway. You increase your brain power with coffee every morning when you first get up.
And when our concentration and focus begin to flag at work, we take a coffee break and perk ourselves up again with another cup.
We all know that coffee is a mild and natural neural stimulant, and don’t need scientists to tell us this.
That said, it’s reassuring to know that there are studies confirming what we already to know to be true.
In The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics by Dr. J. Murdoch Ritchieh, he reports.... On the positive side, caffeine produces "a more rapid and clearer flow of thought," and allays "drowsiness and fatigue. After taking caffeine one is capable of greater sustained intellectual effort and a more perfect association of ideas. There is also a keener appreciation of sensory stimuli, and motor activity is increased; typists, for example, work faster and with fewer errors."
How coffee appears to increase your brain power...
The caffeine in coffee blocks a brain chemical called adenosine, which prompts feelings of drowsiness.
Ordinarily, brain cells release adenosine when they're overworked. Brain cells need to take a break sometimes, just like any other cell in our bodies. Adenosine is released to calm the activity of your brain cells, and give them some down time.
This is fine, except when you are about to write an exam, do a presentation at work or feel drowsy after a fine dinner.
By blocking the release of adenosine, coffee gives the impression that is can increase your brainpower just when you need it.
However, as research continues, adenosine-blocking doesn’t appear to be the only mechanism by which coffee works on the brain.
Consider this excerpt on caffeine and short-term memory:
"We still need to learn more about caffeine's effect on mental resources," says Florian Koppelstaetter, MD, in a news release. Koppelstaetter is a radiology fellow at Austria's Medical University Innsbruck.
Koppelstaetter and colleagues studied about a dozen healthy adults. Caffeine boosted activity in brain regions related to attention and short-term memory, the researchers report.
They presented their findings in Chicago at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
Relax...coffee does increase your brainpower...
In a world filled with expensive supplements claiming to boost memory and intelligence, we find it reassuring to know that you can save some money and increase your brainpower naturally, by drinking our favorite beverage...coffee.
Further reading on coffee and health:
About the author: Nick Usborne, aka Coffee Detective, is a writer and long-time coffee enthusiast. Read more…