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Addicted to coffee? Your DNA may be to blame, study suggests

Click to play video: 'WHO says coffee could prevent cancers' WHO says coffee could prevent cancers
Experts convened by the World Health Organization's cancer research arm declared Wednesday that there isn't enough proof to show that the brew is linked to cancer – Jun 16, 2016

Are you one of those people who don’t need coffee in the morning while your coworkers are jonesing for a latte or espresso? New research suggests your need for a caffeine fix is simply written in your genes.

European researchers out of Italy, Scotland and the Netherlands say that people who carry a DNA variation in a specific gene tend to drink fewer cups of coffee.

That’s because the gene – called PDSS2 – reduces the ability for cells to breakdown caffeine. In the end, it lingers in the body for a longer time. Those without the change in the gene may need to replenish their caffeine levels to keep them energized.

“The results of our study add to existing research suggesting that our drive to drink coffee may be embedded in our genes. We need to do larger studies to confirm the discovery, also to clarify the biological link…,” Dr. Nicola Pirastu, one of the study’s coauthors and a fellow at the University of Edinburgh, explained.

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For the study, Pirastu and her team looked at the genetic information of 370 people living in a small southern Italian village, along with another 840 people living in six northeastern Italian villages. The participants had to fill out a survey that touched on how much coffee they were drinking.

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It turns out that people with the DNA variation in PDSS2 drank fewer cups of coffee than people without the tweak in the gene. They’d drink, on average, 1.5 fewer cups per day.

With their findings in tow, the researchers did the same study in more than 1,700 people in the Netherlands. The results were similar there, too: if people had the variation in their genes, they drank less coffee.

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports. Read the full findings.

carmen.chai@globalnews.ca

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