What is the role of caffeine in Parkinson's disease?

Updated: Jun 14, 2018
  • Author: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, CPE, MHCM, FAAPL  more...
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The causes of Parkinson disease remain largely unknown. Several studies have assessed the risk of Parkinson disease with coffee consumption. A meta-analysis carried out by de Lau et al found coffee drinkers to have a significantly reduced risk of Parkinson disease. [13]  There may also be a caffeine neuroprotective effect pertaining to other neurodegenerative diseases. [14] Caffeine is an inhibitor of the adenosine A2 receptor and was shown to improves motor deficits in a mouse model of Parkinson disease. Because estrogen inhibits the caffeine metabolism by competitive mechanisms, its effect in women may vary with the use of estrogen replacement.

Kitagawa et al, in a study examining the effects of freezing of gait with 100 mg of caffeine, determined that caffeine improved “total akinesia” type of freezing of gait but that, at the same time, tolerance to the beneficial effect of caffeine developed within a few months. [15] However, the effect of caffeine could be restored by a 2-week caffeine withdrawal period.

In addition caffeine neuroprotection may be enhanced in those patitents with a genetic predisposition to Parkinson disease. [16]

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