It seems there’s a different study published every month about the health perks and risks of consuming too many or too few cups of Joe.
But new research published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry suggests the ideal amount varies by genetics— and that the body regulates coffee consumption for its optimum benefits.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, conducted a meta-analysis of more than 120,000 coffee drinkers of American, European and African ancestry, Medical News Today reported.
They found two gene variants, POR and ABCG2, that applied to caffeine metabolism, as well as two others, BDNF and SLC6A4, that may impact how caffeine triggers the body’s sense of reward. For the first time, researchers identified two genes involved in glucose and lipid metabolism— GCKR and MLXIPL— that were linked with the neurological and metabolic impacts of caffeine.
“The new candidate genes are not the ones we have focused on in the past, so this is an important step forward in coffee research,” said lead author Marilyn Cornelis, a nutrition research associate at Harvard University. “Our findings may allow us to identify subgroups of people most likely to benefit from increasing or decreasing coffee consumption for optimal health.”
The new study is supported by previous research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that found that the amount of coffee that’s healthy to drink depends on an individual’s genetic profile.
In the 2006 study, people who had a version of the gene responsible for fast caffeine metabolism had a lowered risk of heart attack if they drank up to three cups of coffee a day. But those with a gene that metabolizes caffeine slowly had a 36 percent higher risk of heart attack if they drank three cups of coffee a day, compared with people carrying the same gene who drank only one cup per day.
Daniel Chasman, senior study author of the new research, and an associate professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said his team’s findings offer more proof that genes can impact the effects of caffeine on an individual.
“Like previous genetic analyses of smoking and alcohol consumption, this research serves as an example of how genetics can influence some types of habitual behavior,” Chasman said.