Whether you're an athlete or you just need a boost to start the workday, a cup of coffee is the go-to caffeine boost to perform your best. But is that caffeine actually draining you more than it’s invigorating you?
New research on our genetic code gives us a new perspective on how caffeine affects us individually. The answer to the age-old question “Is coffee actually good for me?” can be found in your CYP1A2 gene, which controls how quickly your body metabolizes and breaks down caffeine.
What Your Coffee Gene Says About You
Your CYP1A2 gene controls your metabolism chemical substances not normally produced in our bodies, like caffeine. That means how you metabolize caffeine depends on your particular CYP1A2 gene variant.
There are three types of the CYP1A2 gene:
- AA––fast caffeine metabolizer
- AC––slow caffeine metabolizer
- CC––ultra-slow caffeine metabolizer
Not everyone has the same gene variant, so caffeine affects all of us differently. But within each gene variant, there are certain side effects that we all can experience.
Here’s everything you need to know about the types of CYP1A2 genes:
For some fast metabolizers, caffeine doesn’t just serve as a potential energy boost. In fact, consuming a regular cup of coffee as a fast metabolizer can improve your overall health, too, specifically by decreasing your risk of heart attack.
Caffeine can also release extra dopamine in fast metabolizers, which leads to a better mood and increased feelings of wellbeing. On top of that, caffeine has a very low potential for abuse, so you can use caffeine to safely boost your energy and mood.
What’s more, fast metabolizers can often consume caffeine late into the afternoon and evening without it inhibiting their sleep, whereas slow and ultra-slow metabolizers keep caffeine in their system longer, which often leads to sleep disruptions.
Slow & Ultra-Slow Metabolizers
Unfortunately, slow caffeine metabolizers aren’t afforded all the same benefits of caffeine as fast metabolizers. In fact, if you have the AC or CC CYP1A2 gene variants, caffeine intake can have some negative side effects.
First of all, rather than giving you a boost in happiness and more energy, caffeine can bring on feelings of anxiety and the jitters.
And if you’re an athlete, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Caffeine has long been an athletic tool used to boost energy before a match or game. However, if you have the ultra-slow CYP1A2 gene variant, caffeine can decrease your overall performance.
So Which Gene Do You Have?
Now that you know what slow and fast caffeine metabolism is and how it impacts your wellbeing, how do you find out if you are a fast or slow metabolizer? The first step is to get genetic testing.
Genetic testing will reveal your variant for the CYP1A2 gene. Armed with that information, you can responsibly regulate your caffeine consumption. If you’re a fast metabolizer, you know caffeine is your ally. If you’re a slow or ultra-slow metabolizer, you may benefit from less caffeine and avoid it entirely after noon.
Make The Best Health Decisions
With our new scientific breakthroughs in genetic testing, we’ve learned that caffeine isn’t all good or all bad for everyone. Depending on your caffeine metabolism variant, as well as your lifestyle, caffeine can have a positive or negative influence on your day. (and night).
At Matrix Age Management, we know how confusing it is to navigate the waters of healthy living. That’s why we customize our comprehensive health programs to each individual patient. Based on advanced blood work, diagnostic testing, and yes, even your genetic testing, we give you a plan to age gracefully, inside and out.