Coffee and Your Health: A Complex Genetic Web

New research suggests that drinking coffee has more to do with your genes than previously thought.

New research suggests that drinking coffee has more to do with your genes than previously thought. Geneticists at the Harvard School of Public Health recently discovered six new genetic variants that predispose certain individuals toward caffeine consumption. It may help explain why some people differ in their reactions to caffeine: while half a cup of coffee makes some jittery, others can drink caffeine all day with little or no change in behavior. 


More has come to light in recent years about the relationship between health and coffee consumption. In 2012, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study that showed coffee drinkers may have a lower risk of death. And another study published by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health linked coffee consumption to a 50 percent reduction in suicide risk among both men and women.

Peter Martin, director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Coffee Studies, has found that caffeine may help wean people off alcohol addiction. "Chlorogenic acids—compounds that are naturally present in fruits, tea, and raw green coffee beans—he says, can bind to opioid receptors in the brain, and modify neurotransmitters used by the reward pathways responsible for cravings." In her Big Think interview, writer Anne Lamott explains how it helped her get sober:

Read more at the Atlantic

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