Caffeine caution: Genetic responses to caffeine fall into three main groups, study finds

636640464409018594coffee beans 2.jpg

08 Jun 2018 --- Coffee drinkers fall into one of three major groups based on their caffeine sensitivity, according to a new report: Genetics, Metabolism and Individual Responses to Caffeine. The study sought to determine why some coffee drinkers are more affected by caffeine than others and how healthcare professionals can take this into account when advising patients.

The study suggests that an individual's response to caffeine is likely determined by two main genetic factors: whether their liver can metabolize caffeine quickly or slowly; and whether they carry a genetic variation that makes their central nervous system more sensitive to caffeine's stimulating effects.

“We all know someone who can drink coffee all day and then sleep at night without any problems, while others need to limit themselves to just one or two cups to avoid feeling jittery. So I knew that there were differences on an individual level in the physiological and stimulating reactions to caffeine. But I was surprised to realize the degree to which genetic variability determines the everyday experience of such a basic action as drinking coffee,” Dr. J.W Langer, Physician and study author, tells NutritionInsight.

Based on these genetic factors, Dr. Langer has proposed three descriptive levels of overall caffeine sensitivity:

  • High sensitivity to caffeine: Slow-metabolism in the liver and high binding in the central nervous system. Even small amounts of caffeine will cause a stimulating effect and higher doses may cause sleep problems, as seen in a minority of people.
  • Regular sensitivity to caffeine: The balance between caffeine inactivation in the liver and binding in the central nervous system means that the individual can typically drink 2-5 cups of coffee during the day without adverse reactions or sleep disturbances. Caffeine is normally not recommended in the evening, but individual differences prevail, as seen in most people.
  • Low sensitivity to caffeine: Fast-metabolisers of caffeine. Higher intakes can be consumed, (although healthcare professionals should advise that they still stay within the EFSA guidelines of no more than five cups of coffee per day). Coffee drinking before bedtime does not typically disturb sleep.
Click to Enlarge
Infographic from the Institute for Scientific Information 
on Coffee.

“It's common for people to ask their doctor questions such as why they are kept awake by one cup of coffee, while their partner easily falls asleep after five cups. The answer is that we are all unique coffee drinkers. Our genetic make-up programs our reaction to caffeine, just as it programs our hair color and eye color,” says Langer.

An individual with low sensitivity to caffeine probably will not experience the typically desired effects of caffeine, such as wakefulness, alertness and increased concentration. It is important for healthcare professionals to stress that fast metabolizers should not exceed the recommended daily caffeine intake trying to achieve the desired effects.

“Most people will self-moderate their caffeine intake based on their personal experience of what they can tolerate. However it's important that those with a low sensitivity to caffeine stay within the recommended daily caffeine intake of up to 400mg caffeine, which is equivalent to around five cups of coffee,” he adds.

“As a lifestyle-focused physician my advice is that you should not consume coffee purely for health reasons or to prevent or treat diseases. It’s better to go for a long walk or eat a large bowl of veggies. But if you, like me, love coffee, then the research reassures us that coffee will do you no harm, and can be part of a healthy, balanced diet.”  

This report explains the genetic variations that affect individuals' responses to caffeine in more detail, as well as outlining some of the non-genetic factors such as smoking status, pregnancy, and age. The report also stresses the importance of taking individual responses into consideration when healthcare professionals are advising patients and consumers on their caffeine intake.

NutritionInsight has previously reported on the expanding research around coffee, for example, a study published in the BMJ Open journal stated that even moderate coffee consumption during pregnancy, one to two cups per day, is related to a risk of overweight or obesity in school-age children. It had not been clearly shown if caffeine was the direct cause of the overweight, but the relationship, alone, caused researchers to encourage increased caution.

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Related Articles

Nutrition & Health News

Plasma Nutrition technology found to significantly boost bioavailability of whey protein

21 Jun 2018 --- A University of South Florida study has found that Plasma Nutrition’s Ingredient Optimized technology can make whey protein more bioavailable than high DH hydrolyzed whey protein. The research was conducted on a double-blinded randomized cohort in a crossover design and compared the effects of 25g of non-hydrolyzed ioProtein whey protein isolate (WPI) to 25g of a high-DH hydrolyzed whey protein. The results show that ioWhey Protein is more bioavailable than hydrolyzed whey protein, demonstrating a 58 percent increase in leucine absorption and 60 percent increase in BCAA absorption.

Nutrition & Health News

More than a flavor: Flavoring substances stimulate immune defenses, study finds

21 Jun 2018 --- Not only do citric acid and spicy 6-gingerol from ginger add special flavors to food and beverages; both substances also stimulate the molecular defenses in human saliva, researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology have found. The findings demonstrate the potential of flavor substances to have properties that go beyond the sensory.

Nutrition & Health News

Zero proof that probiotics can ease your anxiety, research reveals

21 Jun 2018 --- Those hoping to alleviate their anxiety with the use of probiotics should probably put down that yogurt spoon or supplement bottle and call a professional instead. This is according to researchers from the University of Kansas who reviewed available research, finding evidence that probiotics can reduce anxiety in rodents, but not in humans. The researchers reviewed data from 22 preclinical studies involving 743 animals and 14 clinical studies of 1,527 individuals, and found that probiotics did “not significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety in humans and did not differentially affect clinical and healthy human samples.”

Business News

Probiotic expansion: General Mills leads investment in GoodBelly parent

21 Jun 2018 --- General Mills' venture arm, 301 Inc., is leading a US$12 million round in funding in NextFoods the parent company of GoodBelly Probiotics. Additional capital is coming from existing investors, including Emil Capital Partners. NextFoods was founded in 2007 by Todd Beckman and Steve Demos, who founded WhiteWave Foods, the owner of Silk plant-based milk.

Nutrition & Health News

Infant nutrition (part 2): Innovations in feeding the first 1,000 days

20 Jun 2018 --- Although breast milk is the most nutritious and advisable way to feed an infant for the first six months of life, as advised by the World Health Organization, there are situations that necessitate good quality breast milk substitutes. Part one of this two-part series on infant nutrition focused on the R&D challenges facing formula manufacturers. This second section focuses on the innovations in the ever-evolving market of Breast Milk Substitutes (BMS), as shared by a range of suppliers, as well as a look at the upcoming trends.

More Articles
URL : http://www.nutritioninsight.com:80/news/caffeine-caution-genetic-responses-to-caffeine-fall-into-three-main-groups-study-finds.html