Genes & Coffee Addiction

April 7, 2011 by staff 

Genes & Coffee Addiction, Genetics may help determine the amount of caffeine he longs, new research shows, with differences of two specific genes to drive people to consume more – or less – most popular stimulant in the world.

New research suggests that people who carry a so-called “consumer” gene variation appear to be drinking more coffee, compared to those bearing a “low energy” alternative.

“It’s really an incredible story,” said co-author Dr. Neil Caporaso, Manager of genetic epidemiology at the National Cancer Institute. “People do not really suspect, but genetics play a large role in many behaviors such as smoking and alcohol consumption. And now it turns out he has a role in the amount of caffeine we drink. ”

The two genes in question are marked CYP1A2 and AHR. The first has already been involved in the process by which caffeine is metabolized, whereas the AHR regulates the activity of CYP1A2.

“Now it has been known for decades that this particular gene CYP1A2 is what caffeine metabolism,” Caporaso said. “But thanks to new technologies, what we showed for the first time is that this gene appears to be responsible for differences in how people inherited drink coffee.”

Caporaso joined their colleagues from the Harvard School of Public Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and others to report these findings in the April issue of PLoS Genetics.

The study, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood, noted that more than eight in American adults consume caffeine are coffee drinkers. Overall, caffeine is the psychoactive substance most popular; with percent of people worldwide eat some form of it.

The findings on the genetic basis of consumption java stem from a complex mapping of certain hereditary traits alongside models of caffeine involving more than 47,000 European Americans in five different studies.

The meta-analysis of studies that were conducted between 1984 and 2001, examined the average estimates of caffeine consumption – if possible – for the contribution of each participant of coffee, tea, coke and other sodas, and / or chocolate.

Pooling all data, Caporaso and his associates found that those who carried the genotype of the highest consumption of one or the other or the CYP1A2 gene AHR consumed an extra 40 milligrams of caffeine compared those with genotype the lowest consumption.

This, the authors noted, roughly equivalent to the amount of caffeine found in one can of soda or a third of a cup of coffee.

“The point here is that the way we drink caffeine is not just random,” said Caporaso, who, like his co-authors declared no competing interests. “It is related to the genetic hand of cards you were dealt and that means we can now dissect people in EMs and poor metabolizers: People who have just a little coffee and feel good-containing of caffeine for a day, and people who have two large Coke and then another later in the day to get the same effect. ”

“It’s also true that these observations actually go beyond caffeine, he said,” because one of the genes we identified was not put there just to metabolize caffeine. It a bunch of other things, like metabolize compounds for cancer and also a long list of medications. ”

“So now we have some clear genetic markers that we can go and test to see how they can affect many metabolic processes,” Caporaso said. “But in the meantime, people should think of caffeine as generally very safe. So enjoy yourself. In fact, go read about research while sipping a cup of coffee,” he joked.

For his part, Dr. John J. Mulvihill, a member of the American College of Genetics and professor of pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, described the investigation of caffeine as “another building block in an image of personalized medicine “.

“Basically, it is the particular sensitivity of each individual,” he said. “We are a unique set of genes interacting with a unique environment. And it is fascinating, because caffeine is a voluntary “environment” that most of the human race is drawn. ”

“And even if the general concept of having a more or less tolerance to caffeine is not a new observation, the clinical utility of this work could possibly have to do with the fact that genes involved in metabolism Caffeine is also involved in the metabolism of other things, “said Mulvihill.

This could mean that some patients day or their doctor may raise the issue to be particularly sensitive to caffeine, he said, “because it could be an indication that perhaps there are medications that are prescribed that might also have a little, and undesirable impact on the patient. Thus, caffeine may have a good name. But it could also be an indicator for personal issues. “

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