The Way Caffeine Affects You Really Depends On Your Body

Some people consider coffee the devil’s brew, while others can’t live a day without it.

Now, scientific studies on the effects of caffeine on the body help us make sense of why.

Ahmed El-Solehmy, a professor at the University of Toronto noticed that a lot of the studies on caffeine will offer varying information, and wondered if it might be because people react differently to it. After starting his research, almost 10 years ago, he found that there’s a gene called CYP1A2 which controls the enzymes in your body that break down caffeine, the New York Times reports.

Some people inherited a gene that helped them metabolize caffeine quickly. They’re called the “fast metabolizers.” Others didn’t. They’re liable to metabolize caffeine up to 4 times slower than those with the faster version, or two copies of the gene.

Interestingly, those with the fast version of the gene were found to have no increased — and caffeine-caused — risk of heart issues later on in life, while the slow metabolizers were affected negatively. In other words, depending on your genes, drinking coffee could either help or hurt you.

Obviously, the genes aren’t the only thing that matters when it comes to heart problems.

“There are clearly other genetic and environmental factors contributing to differences in caffeine metabolism,” Dr. Marilyn Cornelis, an assistant professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine told the Times. “And these are not captured by existing tests.”

Interested in learning where you stand? FitnessGenes might be the answer—it’s a company that offers testing for a number of genes related to diet and exercise. Check it out and figure out if you should curb your caffeine habit, or keep it rockin’ through your old age.

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