Is Caffeine In Your Genes?

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via Bill Murray, NCA President & CEO on LinkedIn

Daylight savings time is over — will you be grabbing an extra cup of coffee this afternoon?

A recent article in National Geographic looks at the latest research behind why you love (or don’t love) coffee.

Spoiler alert: It’s in your genes!

While regular coffee consumption may build up a tolerance to caffeine over time, some people are just naturally more sensitive than others.  A genetic variation may explain why some people struggle with anxiousness and insomnia after an extra espresso, while fast caffeine metabolizers are ready reach for another cup.

“What we’re finding is that we have built-in genetic factors that help us with self-regulating our caffeine intake,” says Marilyn Cornelis, a caffeine researcher at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. “It’s interesting how strong of an impact our genetics have on that.”

Caffeine may also be influencing some people’s sensory pathways in ways we don’t yet fully understand, Reed notes. Even the sensory experience of coffee is controlled by your sense of taste and smell — another set of factors that are influenced by our genes, NatGeo reports.

The article also reminds us that people who smoke (or use nicotine) metabolize caffeine more quickly, providing a scientific understanding of the negative health association behind “coffee and a cigarette” for so many years.

This was one of the key misconceptions that something that stood in the way of public awareness of coffee’s health benefits — until relatively recently.

Now, overwhelming scientific evidence, supported by the World Health Organization and the FDA’s Dietary Guidelines, shows that coffee can he a part of a healthy lifestyle.

Related: 11 Coffee Myths to Stop Believing Immediately 

Plus, did you know that most of the health benefits from coffee really kick in when you have your third cup? So that extra cup of coffee this afternoon might help in more ways than one!


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Read more: Do you love or loathe coffee? Your genes may be to blame.

Learn what the science says coffee, caffeine, and your health

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