Coffee is a widely consumed beverage around the world and people drink coffee for a number of reasons.
The most common reason may well be for its perceived ability to help fight fatigue and stimulate us for the day ahead. Many people come to rely on coffee in their daily routine. Coffee consumption is also a social activity with people often using a ‘coffee date’ as a chance to catch up with friends and family. In addition to these reasons for drinking coffee, researchers have begun questioning whether there may be a genetic component to coffee drinking habits.
To investigate whether coffee drinking patterns may be in uenced by a person’s genes, researchers asked more than 1000 people in Italy about their coffee drinking habits. Detailed genetic information was available for all participants.
The results showed that people with a gene variant called PDSS2 drank on average one less cup of coffee per day compared to people who didn’t have the variant. This gene codes for an enzyme (a protein that helps complex reactions occur) that is essential to the production of coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Q10 is an important protein in mitochondria, which are important for energy production.
The hypothesis put forward by researchers to explain the association between this gene variant and coffee consumption involves how coffee is metabolised. PDSS2 is thought to play a role in the expression of genes involved in caffeine metabolism, therefore people with this variant may have reduced capacity to metabolise caffeine. Metabolising caffeine at a slower rate would translate to it being in the body for longer, so perhaps less coffee is needed for these people to get the same caffeine ‘hit.’
More research is needed in this area to con rm a genetic influence relating to caffeine consumption but it may be that the perceived need for coffee is a combination of habit, social influence and our genes.
Reference: Pirastu N et al. Non-additive genome-wide association scan reveals a new gene associated with habitual coffee consumption. Scientific Reports Epub online August 25, 2016. doi: 10.1038/srep31590.Do, Catasdam rem elabus ente patum atem. Vis