Your genetic variation may have a thing to do with your love or hate for coffee. According to scientists, the jitters you get, the sleepless nights and the bitter taste might be a result of how your genes are structured. As part of many people’s routine, a warm cup of coffee is necessary to start the day.
In the evenings when we’re too tired to fix a healthy meal, we tend to find ourselves pouring yet another cup of coffee. Little do we know that it messes up our sleep pattern.
Other people loathe coffee, and no matter how sleep-deprived they may be, coffee is never the solution. A drop of coffee in their mouth may give them jitters, and they may end up staying awake the whole night. Why is this even possible? For the coffee-lovers, they wouldn’t understand how and why anyone would loathe coffee, I mean it’s like hating chocolate. Well, the answer lies in the genes.
According to Dr. Marilyn Cornelis, who specializes in caffeine research at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, we all have genetic factors that help our bodies self-regulate our intake of caffeine. People who take coffee regularly will develop some level of tolerance to caffeine as time goes by, but if you are one of those that avoid coffee because it makes you anxious, sleepless or nauseous, then it could be as a result of variations in your genetic code.
It all boils down to how your body reacts with the caffeine that is already in your system. That’s now the work of your metabolism, when it comes to caffeine, the genes responsible are just two, CYP1A2 and AHR. The CYP1A2 helps to metabolize roughly 95% of the coffee that you ingest, while the AHR is responsible for controlling how much of CYP1A2 your body produces. These genes work together to regulate how much caffeine can circulate in your blood and for how long.
Dr. Cornelis says that if you have a genetic code that leads to decreased caffeine metabolism, then you are probably less likely to take coffee than someone with genes that allow increased caffeine metabolism.
Science reveals that there is a completely different set of genes that have a hand in how caffeine affects your brain’s activity and makes you experience other side effects like anxiety and insomnia. One of the culprits behind the drowsiness and slow nerve activity, and is also responsible for blocking the release of other feel-good hormones including dopamine and adenosine. When you have caffeine in your bloodstream, it takes the place of adenosine receptors in your brain hence enables you to stay awake.
In a nutshell, your genetic make-up could be the reason why you loathe coffee or love it so much. In a recent study conducted by the Monell Center in Philadelphia, it was concluded that only 15% of the bitterness of coffee comes from caffeine while the other 85% comes from other palettes of bitter compounds. If you are more bitter-sensitive, you are more likely to perceive the bitterness in coffee.