Association between coffee consumption and total dietary caffeine intake with cognitive functioning: cross-sectional assessment in an elderly Mediterranean population

I Paz-Graniel et al, 2020.
European Journal of Nutrition, published online.
November 2, 2020



Coffee is rich in compounds such as polyphenols, caffeine, diterpenes, melanoidins and trigonelline, which can stimulate brain activity. Therefore, the possible association of coffee consumption with cognition is of considerable research interest. In this paper, we assess the association of coffee consumption and total dietary caffeine intake with the risk of poor cognitive functioning in a population of elderly overweight/obese adults with metabolic syndrome (MetS).


PREDIMED-plus study participants who completed the Mini-Mental State Examination test (MMSE) (n = 6427; mean age = 65 ± 5 years) or a battery of neuropsychological tests were included in this cross-sectional analysis. Coffee consumption and total dietary caffeine intake were assessed at baseline using a food frequency questionnaire. Logistic regression models were fitted to evaluate the association between total, caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee consumption or total dietary caffeine intake and cognitive impairment.


Total coffee consumers and caffeinated coffee consumers had better cognitive functioning than non-consumers when measured by the MMSE and after adjusting for potential confounders (OR 0.63; 95% CI 0.44-0.90 and OR 0.56; 95% CI 0.38-0.83, respectively). Results were similar when cognitive performance was measured using the Clock Drawing Test (CDT) and Trail Making Test B (TMT-B). These associations were not observed for decaffeinated coffee consumption. Participants in the highest tertile of total dietary caffeine intake had lower odds of poor cognitive functioning than those in the reference tertile when screened by the MMSE (OR 0.64; 95% CI 0.47-0.87) or other neurophysiological tests evaluating a variety of cognitive domains (i.e., CDT and TMT-A).


Coffee consumption and total dietary caffeine intake were associated with better cognitive functioning as measured by various neuropsychological tests in a Mediterranean cohort of elderly individuals with MetS.


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