Coffee drinking has genetic link, says new Dutch study

Picture: Andrés Nieto Porras via Wikimedia Commons

That urge for a mid-afternoon coffee hit could be partly genetic, according to a new study on Italian and Dutch drinkers.

The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, suggests that people with a specific variant of the PDSS2 gene tended to drink fewer cups of coffee than those with other variants. Genetic testing was combined with a survey, including daily drinking habits, and the initial results from 1,207 Italians were mirrored in a study of 1,731 people in the Netherlands – although less strongly.

Researchers believe the genetic variant might mean some people break down caffeine more slowly, so get a longer-lasting boost from each cup.

“Coffee is protective against some types of cancers, cardiovascular diseases and Parkinson’s,” said Nicola Pirastu, who led the study, to The Guardian. “Understanding what is driving its consumption may help us understand what the effects on these diseases are, and so open new lines of research.”

The Dutch drank more coffee each day, mostly filtered, but the researchers from Edinburgh, Trieste and the Netherlands did not speculate on the comparative quality of the cuppa in each country.