News Column

Caffeine Gene: What Does It Mean?

April 12, 2011

caffeine gene, coffee

Caffeine gene -- identified? A new study has identified two genes that may be driving your coffee consumption. The "caffeine genes," according to PLoS Genetics, are "two loci associated with habitual caffeine consumption" -- one gene that metabolizes caffeine, and another that regulates the first gene.

The caffeine gene study in Plos Genetics ("a peer-reviewed open-access journal published by the Public Library of Science") says of the loci: "the first (is) near AHR and the second between CYP1A1 and CYP1A2. Both the AHR and CYP1A2 genes are biologically plausible candidates, as CYP1A2 metabolizes caffeine and AHR regulates CYP1A2."

The aim of the study, according to its abstract, is to gain knowledge of the genetic determinants of caffeine intake as they may "provide insight into underlying mechanisms and may provide ways to study the potential health effects of caffeine more comprehensively."

Or, in simpler terms, it seeks to discover what quantity of coffee consumption is ultimately good or harmful to your health. As the study points out, "Caffeine (1,3,7-trimethylxanthine) is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world with nearly 90 percent of adults reporting regular consumption of caffeine-containing beverages and foods."

Read the "caffeine gene" study here.

Source: (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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