Is DNA the Secret Key to Caffeine Sensitivity?

This article from the Herald Sun explains how your DNA could unlock the secrets as to how caffeine affects you.

15 Nov, 2016



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SCIENCE now has the answer to whether you can enjoy that espresso after dinner — or whether you should steer clear of having energy drinks.

A new genetic test can discover how sensitive you are to caffeine, using saliva to pinpoint DNA markers and reveal how your body breaks down caffeine.

“Basically, our genes can tell us how our bodies metabolise caffeine,” myDNA director Dr Lior Rauchberger said.

“Some people have coffee at 10pm and can sleep straight away, others have to have their last one at 3pm or they’re up all night. Our DNA explains that.”

two girls smiling holding cups of coffee

He said myDNA scientists were expanding the tests for more genetic markers, including alcohol, carbohydrates, lactose and even soft tissue to understand how the body heals after injury and exercise.

“Any substance we consume, it is likely our genes can give us guidance on how our body responds and how much we should or shouldn’t have,” Dr Rauchberger said.

Georgia Aanensen and Annie Cusack, at Southbank’s The Deck, said caffeine affected them in different ways.

“I can drink up to three a day but I’ve never had one past 2pm otherwise I’m wide-eyed when I go to bed,” Georgia, 21, said. “It would be really cool to know when and why that happens.”

Dr Rauchberger confirmed the genetic test “doesn’t explain everything — it never will”.

This article originally appeared in the Herald Sun on November 12, 2016.

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