CogniFit's Science blog: Can Coffee Improve Your Cognitive Skills?

Can Coffee Improve Your Cognitive Skills?

Coffee has become a key import all around the world with millions relying on it for a pick-me-up in the morning. It comes in all different flavors and can be purchased just about anywhere. And while there have been critics that argue its negative side effects, researchers have begun looking at whether or not it can actually improve your cognitive skills.

Drinking a cup of coffee is guaranteed to increase your alertness in the morning, hence why so many rely on it to get going before work. But from there remains the question of whether or not there is a lifetime benefit or harm that can come from drinking it on a regular basis.

At this point, it is not a clear black and white picture as to whether or not caffeine has positive effects on general brain functions, age-related decline, or your short-term/long-term memory. So what is known about its affect on the brain and cognitive skills?

Caffeine belongs to the chemical group called xanthine. Adenosine is a naturally occurring xanthine within the brain that slows down various activities of brain cells. Neurons use caffeine in place of adenosine at times, which results in them speeding up rather than slowing down.

The increased activity triggers the release of the adrenaline hormone. What this causes is an increase in your heartbeat, a jump in your blood pressure, clearing of the breathing tubes and a little extra energy as sugar is released in the bloodstream. The cognitive skills that are affected include an increase in alertness and a reduction in fine motor coordination.

Can it boost brain functions? There have been countless studies on what cognitive skills improve and what don’t as a result of consuming coffee. The general consensus is it’s too hard to tell. Results have shown a correlation between current caffeine intake and better performance on tests while others found a decline in test results making it difficult to really know one way or another.

There is no denying the fact that scientists and researchers are pushing the envelope day in and day out to learn as much about the brain as humanly possible. It is a rich, extensive and complex piece of the human anatomy that requires constant studying to fully understand what it is capable of and what affects it one way or another.

People are going to continue to drink coffee every morning regardless knowing that it has had little affects negatively and it is the perfect pick-me-up. But only time will tell just how much of an impact it truly has on your cognitive skills.