Numerous studies have linked drinking coffee with positive health effects like reduced risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. However, recent research suggests that the effects of coffee on health aren’t the same for everyone, and may depend on genetics and other factors.
There’s a lot of research that links drinking coffee with health benefits, including lowering risk of obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease. The bad news is that while coffee is beneficial for some people, it may be harmful for others. This can include stress, lack of sleep and intolerance to proteins in coffee beans, that determine individual response to coffee.
Coffee is the primary source of caffeine for a lot of people. Caffeine is metabolized by an enzyme in the liver that is encoded for by CYP1A2 gene. Unfortunately, there are people who have a variant in this said gene that leads to slow processing of caffeine.
For slow metabolizers drinking coffee is associated in higher risk of hypertension, impaired fasting glucose and higher risk of heart disease. In my opinion the most obvious conclusion is that it’s impossible to make a general statement about the health impact of coffee. The answer to the question is “It depends”.
This should’t come as a surprise. If you’ve been following or you know me you’ ve probably heard me say. “There’s no one size fits all approach when it comes to health and fitness. The most recent research on nutrition, confirm that this is true. While we share a lot in common as human beings, we also have important differences: genes, gene expression, metabolic activity, gut microbiome, lifestyle and all these will impact how we respond to a particular food or beverage like coffee.
Another conclusion that we might infer from the conflicting data on coffee is that even within a particular genotype the effects are variable. In other words, some slow metabolizers might be adversely affected by caffeine where others aren’t, and the opposite might be true for fast metabolizers.
What you can do to know what is the effect for you is to reduce your consumption slowly until you’ re off it completely and other sources of caffeine for at least 30 days. Then add it back in and see how you respond.
We live in exciting times. At some point in the future, we’ll be able to create much more precise nutritional recommendations based on genotype and epigenetic factors. Right now we’re only scratching the surface and still have a lot to learn. But we already know enough to stop asking questions like is coffee healthy for me?