Caffeine-loving genes can tilt consumption

Researchers say our need for caffeine is in our DNA.

The first gene is CYP1A2, which deals with caffeine metabolism, and the second is AHR, which plays a role in regulating CYP1A2.

Everyone has both of these genes, of course, but we don't all have the exact same kinds. A recent study showed those who had the most caffeine-seeking version of CYP1A2 drank an average of 38 milligrams more of the stuff each day than those with the most caffeine-indifferent version. People with the most caffeine-dependent version of the AHR gene consumed an average of 44 mg. more per day than their counterparts with the least caffeine-seeking version.

That works out to about the same amount of caffeine as is found in a single can of Coke or Pepsi or in a cup of tea.

The researchers made this discovery by comparing the genes and caffeine consumption habits of more than 47,000 Americans of European descent. The search was important because caffeine "is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world," with nearly nine out of 10 adults eating or drinking it regularly, they explained in their report. More than 80 percent of the caffeine consumed by study participants was delivered in the form of coffee.

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(c) 2011, Los Angeles Times.

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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

AP-WF-04-07-11 1208GMT


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