Coffee consumption habits may be written in the DNA says a new study. A gene that may have a key role in the ability of the body to breakdown caffeine has been identified. Some people's genetic make-up may cause the caffeine effect to be more strong.
People with a variation in the PDSS2
gene tend to drink fewer cups of coffee, according to researchers at Edinburgh University. The gene reduces the ability of the cells to breakdown caffeine, causing it to stay in the body for longer. The research team said that a person would not need to consume as much coffee to get the same caffeine hit.
‘In people with a certain variation of a gene called PDSS2, caffeine is broken down in the body slowly and stays longer in the body. So, the person does not drink more coffee to get the same effect.’
Lead author Dr Nicola Pirastu, a Chancellor's Fellow at the University of Edinburgh's Usher Institute, said, "The results of our study add to existing research suggesting that our drive to drink coffee may be embedded in our genes."
"I think that this study reinforces the idea that genetics play a very important role in our everyday habits and lifestyles and understanding this is helping us not only know how people behave but also why, which will allow us to understand how to act on them."
"In this specific case, it seems to reinforce the idea that caffeine is probably the main biological driver of coffee consumption."
The researchers examined the genetic information of 370 people living in a small village in south Italy and 843 people from six villages in north-east Italy. The study participants completed a survey on coffee consumption.
The findings showed that people with the DNA variation in PDSS2
consumed fewer cups of coffee than people without the variation. On an average, the effect was equivalent to around one cup of coffee a day.
The study was replicated in another group of people from Netherlands. The group comprised of 1731 people. The findings were similar, but the effect was different because of the different quantities or varieties of coffee, said the researchers. Italians drink smaller cups such as espresso whereas in the Netherlands the preference is towards larger cups that contain more caffeine.
The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.