Your Caffeine Addiction May Be Genetic

Photo by: ericdelmar@ ©Eric Delmar

ericdelmar@, Eric Delmar

Addicted to coffee? Unable to raise even one eyelid in the a.m. — let alone lift your head off the pillow (mmmm … nice, soft pillow) — without a few sips from your mug, or to get through your afternoon meetings without a quick hit of espresso? Don’t blame yourself. Blame your genes.

Researchers say the urge to consume coffee may be encoded in our DNA. They’ve pinpointed a DNA variation in a gene — PDSS2 — that seems to curtail coffee consumption because it reduces the ability to metabolize caffeine. Those with the genetic variation retain caffeine in their bodies for a greater length of time. That means they get a bigger caffeine kick per cup of coffee than those who do not have the gene variation.

In other words, those who don’t have the genetic variation have to drink more coffee to feel its deliciously enlivening effects. It may also be why some people can’t sleep if they drink coffee late in the day, while others aren’t bothered.

The study was conducted initially in Italy and replicated (with some wiggle room for cultural differences) in the Netherlands, included participation (but not financial support) from the Italian coffee company Illy and was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

“The results of our study add to existing research suggesting that our drive to drink coffee may be embedded in our genes,” study co-author Dr. Nicola Pirastu, a geneticist at the University of Edinburgh, said in a press release. “We need to do larger studies to confirm the discovery and also to clarify the biological link between PDSS2 and coffee consumption.”

Sounds good. In the meantime, care for another cup?

Photo courtesy of iStock

Next Up

Caffeine: Good or Bad?

Can’t go without that morning latte or afternoon soda, but worried you're overloading on caffeine? Here are some tips to help you assess your daily dose of caffeine.

This New Drink Blends Carbonation and Caffeine

It really is the best of both worlds.

The Dangers of Your Avocado Addiction

Our love for avocado may present a danger to our hands — and our wallets.

How to Quit Caffeine Without Feeling Totally Miserable

Kicking a coffee habit can be tough, but not impossible with these dietitian-approved tips.

Gisele Bundchen Shares Her Junk Food Addiction

It makes the supermodel seem a bit less superhuman.

How Much Caffeine Is In a Cup of Coffee?

Depending on your joe of choice, the amount can vary quite a bit.

May's "Name This Dish" Contest Winner

Each month, thousands of Food Network Magazine readers submit clever names for the back page’s “Name This Dish” contest. In the May 2012 issue, we asked you to dream up names for bite-size cakes.

Cutting Calories May Make You Smarter

Can’t remember where you put your darn keys or wallet? Those days may be long gone. A new study shows that memory may improve after you slim down.

May's "Name This Dish" Contest Winner

Find out who won Food Network Magazine's May "Name This Dish" Contest, then come up with a name for July's fried chicken.