Thursday, March 7, 2019
The genes of a coffee drinker
A NatGeo article explains how genes might have a lot more to do on how caffeine affects your body than you think. Most people consume caffeine in one form or another, sometimes without even knowing their foods or drinks contain it. The most conscious about caffeine consumption are those who are affected negatively by it. It is impressive how some people can manage to have a cup of coffee every hour of the day and be just fine, while others will not be able to sleep all night just by looking at them drink it (figuratively speaking). The reason for this lies in the way we metabolize certain substances, which comes from our genes.
CYP1A2 codes for an enzyme that canalizes metabolism of certain drugs including caffeine, AHR determines how much of that enzyme is produced. These two genes work hand in hand to regulate the caffeine in your bloodstream, determine how much and for how long it will stay there. If your parents passed the "fast" metabolism genes down to you, then caffeine might not be in your body long enough to stimulate the brain in a drastic way, whereas people with slow metabolism or low amount of the caffeine metabolic enzyme will have the effects for longer.
There are some who do not drink coffee just because they do not like the taste. Well, this is also due to the activity of genes involved in taste perception that allow us to taste the bitterness of substances. People who have the more active genes, are able to taste better the bitterness of caffeine and more likely to enjoy a cup of coffee, while people with less active genes do not perceive intensity of bitter tastes and will prefer a cup of tea instead.