So I read recently that genes determine how you process coffee. Without even glancing at my family tree, I can tell you that my ancestors must have DEVOURED coffee because I’ve got a serious penchant for it.
Besides just plain liking or not liking the taste of it, genes determine how we process coffee/caffeine. For some of us, our coffee metabolism is so high that we practically need to mainline it before we feel its effects. (Kim Otto and Lee Child, I’m looking at you.) Raise your hand if this is you, too!
For others, less than one cup can cause jitters for hours.
Metabolism is determined by genes. Specifically, there’s a variant of one gene that is linked to high metabolism of caffeine — in other words, higher tolerance, leading to higher demand of the beverage. Guess where in the world lots of people have that gene.
Think about it…
You guessed it. 25% of people of European ancestry have it. Which explains why Europeans drink the most coffee per capita!
In addition, some people carry a gene that makes them more likely to feel anxious after consuming coffee.
For slow coffee metabolizers, there’s an increased risk of heart attack if you have more than one cup of coffee per day. For fast metabolizers, we actually lower our risk of heart attack by having at least one cup of coffee.
You might be wondering — how did I get on the topic of caffeine metabolism if I’m a mystery and thriller writer? You’d be surprised how many rabbit holes I climb down during research for my books. In this case, I started studying genes and genealogy during my research for my upcoming new book series starring Michael Flint, Heir Hunter. Flint’s job is to trace family lines into the personal and mysterious depths that even computers don’t have access to.
I wonder if Michael Flint will lean on this correlation between caffeine and genes during his research? We’ll have to wait and find out when the books release in Fall 2016!