A hot cup of coffee... or two... or three... However many of these caffeine concoctions it takes to get you moving in the morning may in part be written in your genes. Of course, the amount of coffee one consumes is influenced by many factors, but a new study suggests a specific gene may also be added to the list.
Coffee is one of the most widely-consumed drinks worldwide, alongside tea and water. The brewed beverage has been linked to many health benefits, including improved short-term memory, longer lifespan, and a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia.
How much you guzzle in a day typically depends on how quick an energy shot you receive and how long the buzz lasts – and it’s this, at least in part, that may be written into your genes. The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The scientists behind the study, led by the University of Edinburgh, found that those who only need a good strong cuppa to keep them going during the day may be blessed with a gene, known as PDSS2, that metabolizes caffeine more slowly, keeping it in the individual's system longer.
For the study, the researchers analyzed the DNA of more than 1,200 people living in Italy and 1,700 people from the Netherlands. They found that those with the PDSS2 gene drank the equivalent of one less cup of coffee per day. More research, however, is needed to understand the exact mechanism behind the genetic link to coffee consumption.
"The results of our study add to existing research suggesting that our drive to drink coffee may be embedded in our genes,” lead author Dr Nicola Pirastu, a Chancellor's Fellow at the University of Edinburgh's Usher Institute, said in a statement. “We need to do larger studies to confirm the discovery and also to clarify the biological link between PDSS2 and coffee consumption."
The amount a person drinks is not just limited to a single gene. Factors such as sleep quality, taste preferences, and tolerance over time, among others, play a role in how much coffee a person drinks. Nonetheless, whether you are a roaster, barista, or a connoisseur, a little brown coffee bean and a gene written into your DNA may play a more vital role in your life than you ever thought.