Unparalleled Power of Coffee Beyond Caffeine Effects: Study

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Many people wait until the coffee mug is filled before their day officially begins. People drink coffee to get up to improve their productivity because it is commonly believed to help them feel more alert. Portuguese researchers analyzed coffee consumers to determine if the wakefulness effect is caused by the characteristics of caffeine or the act of drinking coffee.  

According to Prof. Nuno Sousa of the University of Minho, corresponding author of the article published in Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience, and Field Chief Editor of the journal, “There is a common expectation that coffee increases alertness and psychomotor functioning.” You can explore the variables that might control a biological event and even the possible advantages of that mechanism if you have a deeper understanding of the underlying mechanics. 

A minimum of a single cup of caffeinated beverage per day drinkers were sought out by the researchers, who also instructed participants to abstain from food and beverages with caffeine for a minimum of three hours before the trial. They first conducted two quick functional MRI scans—one before and one thirty minutes after either ingesting caffeine or consuming a standardized cup of coffee—to gather sociodemographic information about the subjects. The patients were instructed to unwind and let their thoughts wander while undergoing the functional MRI scans. 

The researchers anticipated higher integration of networks related to the prefrontal cortex, which is linked to an executive memory, and the default setting network, involved in reflection and self-reflection processes based on coffee consumption’s previously established neurochemical effects. The functional MRI scans confirmed this. They discovered that connectivity of the standard network decreased after eating coffee and ingesting caffeine. This finding suggests that caffeine or drinking coffee primed people from relaxing to working on activities. 

“Acute coffee consumption decreased the functional connectivity between brain regions of the default mode network, a network associated with self-referential processes when participants are at rest,” said Dr. Maria Picó-Pérez, lead author from Jaume I University. While the connectivity in areas of the higher visual and the right executive control network was strengthened after consuming coffee, the functional connectivity between the somatosensory/motor networks and the prefrontal brain diminished. After drinking coffee, the individuals were more awake to outside stimuli and more ready for action. 

The study could not distinguish between the effects of the experience alone and the experience paired with the caffeine. Therefore, the authors noted that the experience of drinking coffee without caffeine could result in these advantages. Additionally, this study did not examine the notion that the advantages that coffee drinkers assert may result from the reduction of withdrawal symptoms. 

“The connection alterations were examined during a succession of resting states. Sousa warned that the shared purpose given to the regions and networks identified serves as the basis for any relationship with psychological and cognitive processes, but it was not directly tested. Furthermore, it could be interesting to investigate any individual variations in participants’ caffeine metabolism in the future. 

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