Caffeine is a molecule found in coffee, energy drinks, colas, chocolate, tea, and all kinds of other foods and beverages. You might make it a habit to drink coffee every morning, and while there are various benefits of daily caffeine consumption, there are also increased health risks associated with specific genetic variants.
Caffeine affects people differently—some can have a cup of coffee just before bed and fall asleep with ease; others get the jitters from even a small amount. The effects vary with how your body metabolizes caffeine. Read on to get more information on how caffeine sensitivity is related to genetics, the different ways it can be metabolized by the body, and how Dynamic DNA Labs can help you understand your level of caffeine sensitivity.
How Long Does It Take for Caffeine to Be Completely Out of Your Body?
After consuming caffeine, it takes about 15 minutes for you to feel the effects. After one hour, the level of caffeine will increase in your blood, and it will maintain the same level for about three hours. Six hours later, half of the amount of caffeine you consumed will still be in your body. It will take approximately 10 hours for caffeine to be entirely out of your system.
As much as you love coffee for its ability to keep you active and alert, you need to regulate the amount you consume daily so that you don’t become dependent on it for energy. Stopping cold turkey will cause withdrawal symptoms like headache, tiredness, muscle pain, anxiety, and insomnia.
Caffeine Sensitivity and Its Symptoms
Caffeine sensitivity describes how efficient your body is with metabolizing your caffeine. People with high sensitivity to caffeine will experience more exaggerated effects, even in small doses. Once you learn that you have high sensitivity to caffeine, it’s best to avoid caffeine or reduce your intake. Some of the symptoms of caffeine sensitivity are:
- Lack of sleep
- Increased heart rate
There are different levels of caffeine sensitivity, and they include:
- Hypersensitivity – People who are hypersensitive to caffeine have low CYP1A2 action, and even with a small amount of caffeine, they experience the effects.
- Normal sensitivity – People with normal sensitivity rarely feel the effects of caffeine no matter the level of their caffeine intake.
- Low sensitivity – This means quick action of CYP1A2. Metabolism of caffeine is fast, and there are little to no effects after consuming caffeine.
How Caffeine Is Metabolized
The bloodstream absorbs the caffeine from the intestines, and then it crosses through the blood-brain barrier. The brain contains adenosine receptors that alert the brain when you need to sleep. When caffeine reaches your brain, it links with the adenosine receptors blocking them from communicating to the brain.
Caffeine metabolism takes place in the liver, where the enzyme CYP1A2 catalyzes it. CYP1A2 breaks down caffeine into theobromine, paraxanthine, and theophylline. The chemicals are then excreted by the kidneys and released in urine.
Factors That Affect Caffeine Sensitivity
Caffeine sensitivity varies from one person to another, and it is affected by several factors, the most significant of which being genetics.
- Genetics – With little CYP1A2 production, your liver will be ineffective at metabolizing caffeine, which will result in slower metabolism of the caffeine alkaloid. With those who produce a large amount, they will not be nearly as sensitive.
- Age – When someone grows older, the efficacy of CYP1A2 decreases, thus increasing the sensitivity to caffeine. This phenomenon shows that someone can develop sensitivity to caffeine later in life.
- Gender – Activity of CYP1A2 is lower in females than males.
- Pregnancy – When pregnant, the action of CYP1A2 is inhibited with estrogen, thus increasing caffeine sensitivity.
- Birth control pills – Some birth control pills lower the action of CYP1A2, which in turn slows the metabolism of caffeine.
Fast and Slow Metabolizers of Caffeine
Slow metabolizer variant: Individuals with AC or CC genotypes for polymorphism rs762551 are shown to be slow metabolizers with a high sensitivity to caffeine. After drinking greater than 2 cups of coffee daily, these individuals will have a slightly increased heart attack risk.
Fast metabolizer variant: If one has the AA genotype for the polymorphism of the CYP1A2 gene, they will be rapid metabolizers with a low caffeine sensitivity.
With our nutrition DNA testing kit, we analyze the genetic traits above responsible for caffeine metabolism and sensitivity, among many other dietary concerns.