Coffee, Gene Linked to Risk of Heart Attacks

April 21, 2006

Those who rely on coffee to arouse the comatose zombie within might be interested to know that Canadian research has revealed a genetic predisposition can increase the risk of suffering heart attacks in excessive coffee drinkers, according to the Ontario daily the Ottawa Citizen.

The study, carried out in Costa Rica and published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggests humans carry genes that make them either slow or fast caffeine metabolizers.

After examining 2,014 Costa Rican men and women who had survived heart attacks between 1994-2004, and comparing them to a group of the same number of healthy subjects, experts concluded that almost 55% of those who had suffered heart attacks carried the slow-metabolism gene, the Ottawa Citizen reported.

Drinking two to three cups of coffee a day increased the heart-attack risk of those who have the gene by 36%, while those who drank four or more cups daily increase their risk by 64%.

According to the study’s co-author, Ahmed El-Sohemy, the study’s results do not mean coffee addicts should completely stop drinking the beverage, but should enjoy it in moderation.

“We found that consuming one cup of coffee a day was not associated with any harmful effects regardless of what your genetic makeup is,” El-Sohemy, the University of Toronto’s Canada Research Chair in nutrigenomics told the Canadian daily. “The problem is what happens above and beyond can depend on your genes.”

One day scientists may determine that different diets are needed depending on factors like ethnicity and genetic makeup, added El-Sohemy, who worked alongside researchers from HarvardUniversity and the University of Costa Rica (UCR) to complete the study.

 

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