High Coffee Consumption Linked To Smaller Brain Volume, Research Shows

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 01 Aug 2021 15:21
High Coffee Consumption Linked To Smaller Brain Volume, Research ShowsPA Images

While you’d think drinking coffee would increase brain activity, it’s been found to potentially have the opposite effect.

I’m sure I’m not the only one to have a few cups of coffee a day to help keep me wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, but high caffeine consumption could be doing us more harm than good.


Researchers at the University of South Australia have found that caffeine is associated with smaller brain volumes, and higher risk of dementia.

Fancy coffee (Pexels)Pexels

They assessed 17,702 UK Biobank participants (aged 37-73) and looked at how coffee affected their brains, and those who had more than six cups of coffee a day had a concerning 53% increased risk of dementia.

Kitty Pham, lead researcher and UniSA PhD candidate, said of the research, as per SciTechDaily


Coffee is among the most popular drinks in the world. Yet with global consumption being more than nine billion kilograms a year, it’s critical that we understand any potential health implications.

This is the most extensive investigation into the connections between coffee, brain volume measurements, the risks of dementia, and the risks of stroke – it’s also the largest study to consider volumetric brain imaging data and a wide range of confounding factors.

‘Accounting for all possible permutations, we consistently found that higher coffee consumption was significantly associated with reduced brain volume – essentially, drinking more than six cups of coffee a day may be putting you at risk of brain diseases such as dementia and stroke,’ she continued.

Brain scan (Pexels)Pexels

Worry not if you’re not a serial coffee drinker, however, as senior investigator and Director of UniSA’s Australian Centre for Precision Health, Professor Elina Hyppönen, said a couple of cups a day should be OK.


She said, ‘Typical daily coffee consumption is somewhere between one and two standard cups of coffee. Of course, while unit measures can vary, a couple of cups of coffee a day is generally fine.’

While one or two cups a day is OK, Hyppönen warned that people should ‘rethink [their] next drink’ if they’re having more than half a dozen cups a day.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Health, brain, coffee, dementia, Life, Now, Research


  1. SciTechDaily

    Bitter Brew: High Coffee Consumption Is Associated With Smaller Brain Volume