There aretwo types of coffee drinkersin the world.
On one hand, you have the people who takethree sips of watered-down iced coffeeand can’t sleep for a weekstraight.On the other hand,you have the coffee addicts who can’t function unless a constantstream of espresso is running through their veinson the reg.
This leaves us with one simple question: Why does coffee affect people so differently?
Well, thanks to science, we may have the answer.The reason why you either love or hate coffee all boils down to your genetics.
About adecade ago,AhmedEl-Sohemy, PhD, a professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto, conducted a study that examined coffee’s effect on the heart by looking at thegene responsible for metabolizing caffeine, calledCYP1A2.
El-Sohemy found that “fast metabolizers” or people who inherit two copiesof the “fast” variant of theCYP1A2 gene, had the ability to break down caffeine four times faster than peoplewho inherittwo copies of the “slow” CYP1A2 genes.
The study also revealed that drinkingfour or more cups of coffee each dayincreased the slow metabolizers’ risk of heart attack by 36 percent. However, drinking up to three cups of coffee per day decreased the risk of heart attack forfast metabolizers.
The reason why slow metabolizersare more likely to experience caffeine-related cardiovascular problems is because the stimulant stays in their bodies longer. Fast metabolizers experienced health benefits from the antioxidants and polyphenols found in coffee with fewer cardiovascularrepercussions.
A fewyears later in 2009, a study conducted by Italian researchers similarly found that slow metabolizerswhodrank a lot ofcoffeewere more inclinedto suffer from high blood pressure. Fast metabolizers, on the other hand, seemed to experience the opposite effect, thusdecreasingthe risk of hypertension as they upped theircoffee consumption.
While this gene may shed some light on our coffee drinking habits, other experts likeMarilyn Cornelis, PhD, of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, argue that you can’t solely look atCYP1A2, since there is a myriad of other genes involved in the process of metabolizing caffeine.
But hey, at least these findings give us some insight on why we react so differently to our morning cup of joe.