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? Coffee-lovers wouldn’t understand how and why anyone would loathe coffee. To them, 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 a result of variations in your genetic code.
Is it possible to regulate the reactions?
It all boils down to how your body reacts with the caffeine that is already in your system. That’s the work of your metabolism. When it comes to caffeine, the genes responsible are CYP1A2 and AHR. The CYP1A2 helps to metabolize roughly 95% of the coffee that you ingest. The AHR is responsible for controlling how much CYP1A2 you produce. These genes work together to regulate how much and how long caffeine can circulate in your bloodstream.
Dr. Cornelis says that if you have genes that lead to decreased caffeine metabolism, you are less likely to take coffee than someone with genes that allow increased caffeine metabolism.
Adjust your attitude
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. It is one of the culprits behind drowsiness and slow nerve activity and it is responsible for blocking the release of 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.