For many of us, coffee feels like a fundamental part of our existence, written into the stars at the formation of the universe. It is our inescapable reality, predestined eons ago by some great and unexplainable force. And as it turns out, this may not be all that far from the truth, maybe just without the cosmic determinism. A new study finds a causal relation between our genes and our coffee consumption.
As reported by Science Daily, the new study is the work of the University of South Australia in conjunction with the South Australian Health and Medical Researcher Institute (SAHMRI). Using blood pressure and heart rate as markers, researchers looked at the heart health data for nearly 400,000 individuals from the UK Biobank, cross-referencing it against their purported coffee intake.
They found that “people with high blood pressure, angina, and arrhythmia were more likely to drink less coffee, decaffeinated coffee or avoid coffee altogether compared to those without such symptoms, and that this was based on genetics.” Per lead author Professor Elina Hyppönen, these results show how our genetics have an active role in regulating our coffee intake and protect against overconsumption.
“People drink coffee for all sorts of reasons—as a pick me up when they're feeling tired, because it tastes good, or simply because it's part of their daily routine,” Prof Hyppönen says. “But what we don't recognize is that people subconsciously self-regulate safe levels of caffeine based on how high their blood pressure is, and this is likely a result of a protective genetic a mechanism.”
In short, if you drink lots of coffee, it’s likely because you’re more tolerant of the effects of caffeine on a genetic level. Those who drink less are more likely to experience the adverse effects of caffeine and are “more susceptible to high blood pressure.”
So if you like to drink coffee, like, a lot of coffee, it's not a bad thing. You're just doing what your genes programmed you to do. And the good news is, if your body says you should, then it's probably just fine to do.