Caffeine is the most widely consumed stimulant in the world and most of us can’t start our day without brewing a fresh cup. 80% of adults in North America consume caffeine on a daily basis and rely on it to get through that afternoon slump. Our culture is obsessed with coffee; so much so that we have about a dozen different ways to brew it!
On the other hand, there is a small percentage of the population who avoid coffee like the plague. Some don’t see it as the miracle a majority of us consider it to be. In fact, caffeine can have less than ideal effects on certain people.
These people can suffer from feelings of anxiety, get the jitters or be kept up all night long just from the smallest sip. These symptoms are associated with having a caffeine sensitivity. But why does caffeine affect people in dramatically different ways?
Well, would you believe us if we told you that the answer lies in your genetics? Keep reading to find out more.
How Caffeine Works in the Body
To understand how much genetics plays a part in determining our sensitivities to caffeine, we need to understand how caffeine reacts in the body.
Caffeine is a stimulant, meaning that it will make you feel more alert once it reaches your brain. It gives you that feeling of alertness you crave after a long night of tossing and turning. Caffeine enters your bloodstream within 30 to 60 minutes after consumption.
Over a long period of time, your body will start to build a tolerance to caffeine and you will need more of it in order to feel its effects. However, adding more to your diet could be detrimental to your health depending on how much your body is able to metabolize caffeine.
It can only metabolize a certain amount per day, which is how a DNA test can help you figure out how many cups your body can handle safely.
Those who are slow metabolizers of caffeine must be careful of their coffee intake because it can be dangerous for their health. For example, it could increase their chance for a heart attack. On the other hand, those who are fast metabolizers can benefit from the antioxidants and other compounds in coffee. It all depends!
Your genes determine how fast or slow your metabolism is and they are the key to helping you avoid undesirable caffeine side effects.
Your Caffeine-Regulating Genes
As we explain in Nutrition 101, The two genes responsible for regulating caffeine in your body are known as CYP1A2 and AHR.
CYP1A2 produces a liver enzyme that metabolizes the caffeine in your system, it handles a majority of the work. AHR is responsible for controlling how much of that enzyme your body produces. When they work together, they manage how much caffeine circulates in your bloodstream and how long it stays in your body.
How do you assess your health risks to caffeine?
By taking a nutrition DNA test you can reveal a lot about your own unique needs based on your genetics. This DNA test is the best way to get a comprehensive understanding on how your genes are impacting your caffeine sensitivities, as well as give you other helpful information.
Your personalized DNA test will make these suggestions in order to help you create a nutrition plan that will set you on the path to optimal health and prevent chronic disease.
1. van Berge-Henegouwen, G. P., & Mulder, C. J. (1993). Pioneer in the gluten free diet: Willem-Karel Dicke 1905-1962, over 50 years of gluten free diet. Gut, 34(11), 1473–1475. https://doi.org/10.1136/gut.34.11.1473
2. Wieser H. (2007). Chemistry of gluten proteins. Food microbiology, 24(2), 115–119. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fm.2006.07.004
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