Is coffee good for you
Drinking coffee is good for you. Or bad for you. It depends on the news item you are currently watching. But the scientific answer is that: it depends for whom.
Genetic studies have discovered that some people benefit by drinking coffee, while others may be at risk.
Our simple and affordable test can tell what’s caffeine for your body: a healthy antioxidant boost, or a factor promoting hypertension and diabetes.
Gene: CYTOCHROME P450, SUBFAMILY I, POLYPEPTIDE 2 (CYP1A2)
Genomic coordinates (GRCh38): 15:74,748,842-74,756,599
Caffeine is broken down by the liver enzyme CYP1A2. As a result of small variations in the gene coding for the enzyme, people vary in how fast they break down caffeine. Carriers of variant are slow metabolizers of caffeine, which may result in higher blood pressure and risk for heart diseases, as well as increased risk for Impaired fasting glucose (prediabetes).
As shown in the figure below, variant carriers are 4 times slower in breaking- down caffeine, while homozygous individuals are 6 times slower.
Caffeine and hypertension, heart attack
Numerous studies have studied the association between caffeine intake and hypertension. Genetic studies sorted out the contradicting results by discovering that caffeine elevates the risk for hypertension mainly in CYP1A2 slow metabolizers.
This genetic risk is dose-dependent, which means that the increase of risk for hypertension rises with the amount of coffee consumed per day.
CYP1A2 variant carriers who don’t drink coffee have no additional risk for hypertension.
CYP1A2 variant carriers who are moderate coffee drinkers have a significant risk addition, in comparison to abstainers. In the study shown below, there is a 40% risk increase, and other studies found up to 100% risk increase.
CYP1A2 variant carriers who are considered heavy coffee drinkers have 3-4 times the risk for hypertension, in comparison with abstainers. Similar data has emerged when association with Myocardial infraction was studied.
CYP1A2 fast metabolizers, on the other hand, were found to have a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, if they do drink coffee (see the 1A/1A genotype on the figure above). Coffee holds some compounds with antioxidant properties that might protect against heart disease.
The protective effects observed among rapid metabolizers suggest that the efficient elimination of caffeine might have unmasked the protective effects of other chemicals in coffee. Compounds in coffee such as caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid have antioxidant properties that might protect against heart disease.
Caffeine and diabetes
caffeine intake can lower insulin sensitivity and increase glucose concentrations in both diabetic and non diabetic individuals. Among carriers of the slow variant, heavy coffee drinkers had a higher risk of impaired fasting glucose, compared to abstainers. Impaired fasting glucose is a result of lower sensitivity to insulin, caused by caffeine consumption. In many cases, it leads to type II diabetes.
Caffeine is present in various drinks, as you can see below. It is worth noting that the antioxidant components of coffee are not present in other caffeine-containing drinks.
* Caffeine content for coffee, tea, soda and more, by the Mayo Clinic,