Is it the caffeine in coffee that helps prevent Parkinson's?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 20, 2016
Edelisi asked...

I recently read an article on saying that coffee can reduce your risk of Parkinson's Disease. My question is, is it the caffeine in coffee that is preventive, or some other ingredient? If it's the caffeine, would caffeine in tea or other sources count, too? Would it help if I'm already in early-stage Parkinson's? Thanks!

Expert Answers

Graham A. Glass, MD, is the deputy director of the San Francisco Parkinson's Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Care Center (PADRECC) and an assistant clinical professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He completed a fellowship in movement disorders at the Mayo Clinic.

The Parkinson's Disease research community isn't really sure about the answer to the question as to the reason for why coffee drinkers are less likely to develop Parkinson's disease, although similar reductions in risk have not yet been noted in other caffeinated beverages. Thus, we think that there is more than just the caffeine that results some potential "protective" effect of coffee. To further answer your question, there is no data to support the thought that coffee may slow down the disease progression once someone already has Parkinson's disease.