The journal of nutrition, health & aging

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 313–328 | Cite as

Coffee, tea, and caffeine consumption and prevention of late-life cognitive decline and dementia: A systematic review

  • Francesco PanzaEmail author
  • V. Solfrizzi
  • M. R. Barulli
  • C. Bonfiglio
  • V. Guerra
  • A. Osella
  • D. Seripa
  • C. Sabbà
  • A. Pilotto
  • G. Logroscino


A prolonged preclinical phase of more than two decades before the onset of dementia suggested that initial brain changes of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and the symptoms of advanced AD may represent a unique continuum. Given the very limited therapeutic value of drugs currently used in the treatment of AD and dementia, preventing or postponing the onset of AD and delaying or slowing its progression are becoming mandatory. Among possible reversible risk factors of dementia and AD, vascular, metabolic, and lifestyle-related factors were associated with the development of dementia and late-life cognitive disorders, opening new avenues for the prevention of these diseases. Among diet-associated factors, coffee is regularly consumed by millions of people around the world and owing to its caffeine content, it is the best known psychoactive stimulant resulting in heightened alertness and arousal and improvement of cognitive performance. Besides its short-term effect, some case-control and cross-sectional and longitudinal population-based studies evaluated the long-term effects on brain function and provided some evidence that coffee, tea, and caffeine consumption or higher plasma caffeine levels may be protective against cognitive impairment/decline and dementia. In particular, several cross-sectional and longitudinal population-based studies suggested a protective effect of coffee, tea, and caffeine use against late-life cognitive impairment/decline, although the association was not found in all cognitive domains investigated and there was a lack of a distinct dose-response association, with a stronger effect among women than men. The findings on the association of coffee, tea, and caffeine consumption or plasma caffeine levels with incident mild cognitive impairment and its progression to dementia were too limited to draw any conclusion. Furthermore, for dementia and AD prevention, some studies with baseline examination in midlife pointed to a lack of association, although other case-control and longitudinal population-based studies with briefer follow-up periods supported favourable effects of coffee, tea, and caffeine consumption against AD. Larger studies with longer follow-up periods should be encouraged, addressing other potential bias and confounding sources, so hopefully opening new ways for diet-related prevention of dementia and AD.

Key words

Coffee consumption tea consumption caffeine use mild cognitive impairment dementia Alzheimer’s disease cognitive disorders nutrition 


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Copyright information

© Serdi and Springer-Verlag France 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco Panza
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • V. Solfrizzi
    • 4
  • M. R. Barulli
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. Bonfiglio
    • 5
  • V. Guerra
    • 6
  • A. Osella
    • 5
  • D. Seripa
    • 3
  • C. Sabbà
    • 4
  • A. Pilotto
    • 3
    • 7
  • G. Logroscino
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Neurodegenerative Disease Unit, Department of Basic Medicine, Neuroscience, and Sense OrgansUniversity of Bari Aldo MoroBariItaly
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Research in NeurologyUniversity of Bari Aldo MoroTricaseItaly
  3. 3.Geriatric Unit and Gerontology-Geriatrics Research Laboratory, Department of Medical SciencesIRCCS Casa Sollievo della SofferenzaSan Giovanni Rotondo, FoggiaItaly
  4. 4.Geriatric Medicine-Memory Unit and Rare Disease CentreUniversity of Bari Aldo MoroBariItaly
  5. 5.Laboratory of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, National Institute for Digestive DiseasesIRCCS «Saverio de Bellis»CastellanaItaly
  6. 6.Trials Centre, National Institute for Digestive DiseasesIRCCS «Saverio de Bellis»CastellanaItaly
  7. 7.Geriatric Unit, Azienda ULSS16 PadovaS. Antonio HospitalPadovaItaly

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