Well this may translate as good news for those who swear by their cuppas, as evidence now suggests that caffeine apart from its cognitive enhancing properties may also help boost long term memory.
Caffeine is the most commonly used drug as well as food additive worldwide. In humans, it stimulates the central nervous system, respiration and heart rate. It has mood altering properties and acts as a mild diuretic. Consumption of caffeine in low to moderate doses is generally said to be safe and has health benefits. However, moderation is the key, as it can be a potential source for certain health problems with continued use.
Researchers at John Hopkins University have found that caffeine also acts as a memory enhancer. According to the professors it has a positive effect on our long term memory if consumed after a learning session. It has been proved that caffeine enhances certain memories at least up to 24 hours after it is consumed.
The Johns Hopkins researchers conducted a double-blind trial in which participants who did not regularly eat or drink caffeinated products received either a placebo or a 200-milligram caffeine tablet five minutes after studying a series of images. Salivary samples were taken from the participants before they took the tablets to measure their caffeine levels and later at one, three and 24 hour intervals.
The following day, the test subjects were presented with visuals that were same, different or similar to the ones shown in the previous day’s study session. More members of the caffeine group were able to correctly pin-point the new images as “similar” to the previously viewed images rather than incorrectly referring them as the same.
According to the US FDA statistics, 90 percent people globally consume caffeine in one form or another. In the United States alone, 80 percent of adults consume caffeine every day. The average adult drinks about 200 milligrams or roughly one cup of strong coffee per day.
The researchers found that using 100 and 300 mg of caffeine had no effect as compared to the 200 mg dose. Thus, they concluded that the dose of at least 200 mg is necessary to observe the beneficial effects of caffeine on memory.
While studies have concluded that caffeine offers health benefits, it is not all hunky-dory as another study suggests that caffeine is able to disturb sleep patterns for hours after it is consumed and caffeine from energy drinks may alter heart functions.