In a world-first study of 390,435 people, University of South Australia researchers found causal genetic evidence that cardio health - as reflected in blood pressure and heart rate - influences coffee consumption.
The team found that people with high blood pressure, angina, and arrhythmia were more likely to drink less coffee, decaffeinated coffee or avoid coffee altogether compared to those without such symptoms and that this was based on genetics.
Lead researcher and Director of UniSA’s Australian Centre for Precision Health, Professor Elina Hypponen said it is a positive finding that shows genetics actively regulate the amount of coffee a person drinks and protect people from consuming too much. “People drink coffee for all sorts of reasons - as a pick me up when they are feeling tired because it tastes good, or simply because it is part of their daily routine,” Prof Hypponen says. “But what we do not recognise is that people subconsciously self-regulate safe levels of caffeine based on how high their blood pressure is, and this is likely a result of a protective genetic mechanism.” “What this means is that someone who drinks a lot of coffee is likely more genetically tolerant of caffeine, as compared to someone who drinks very little.”
Conversely, a non-coffee drinker, or someone who drinks decaffeinated coffee, is more likely prone to the adverse effects of caffeine, and more susceptible to high blood pressure, as per the study.