Can’t get going in the morning without your cup of coffee? New research could indicate that your genes could be the reason. Scientists at Edinburgh university have discovered a gene that seems to influence the amount of coffee people drink, and could affect how we process coffee in the body.
Research carried out on Italian villagers has revealed that people carrying a specific variant of the PDSS2 gene drink less coffee than those without the gene. Geneticist and lead researcher Nicola Pirastu explained that carriers of the gene seem to metabolise coffee more slowly, so they get a longer-lasting caffeine hit from each cup and need to drink less. The results were checked by completing a survey of 1,731 people in the Netherlands, who exhibited the same link to a slightly less extent. Nicola Pirastu added that further research needs to be done to confirm the findings, which was published in the journal Scientific Reports earlier this year.
Researchers asked over 1,000 people living in villages around Puglia in southern Italy and Friuli Venezia in the north east to complete a survey about their coffee drinking habits, and also analysed their genetic material.
Scientists find caffeine a rewarding area for study, as it’s known to protect against some types of cancers, Parkinson’s disease and some cardiovascular diseases. Research on the new gene could help us understand the health benefits of the stimulant. Some of the genes that help us to breakdown caffeine also affect our ability to metabolise certain medicines, so the research could also help doctors to create a personalised treatment plan for patients in the future.
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