A new study found genetic variants linked with coffee consumption habits.
"This might explain why people vary in not only their coffee consumption behavior but also the stimulating or rewarding effect that coffee produces," Marilyn Cornelis, research associate in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health and the lead author of the study, told USA TODAY Network.
Because coffee consumption can impact health, this new research may help identify people who would benefit from increasing or decreasing the amount of coffee they drink each day, according to a press release from Harvard School of Public Health, who led the research along with researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital.
"Like previous genetic analyses of smoking and alcohol consumption, this research serves as an example of how genetics can influence some types of habitual behavior," Daniel Chasman, associate professor at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the study's senior author, said in the statement.
The study is currently the largest of its kind, according to Cornelis. It analyzed the results of more than 120,000 participants who described how much coffee they drank a day and allowed their DNA to be scanned. The study looked for differences in their DNA associated with drinking more or less coffee.
Researchers found eight gene variants, two of which had already been linked to coffee consumption.
Four of the six new variants implicate genes that are involved with caffeine, either in how the body breaks it down or in its stimulating effects, the researchers said in a paper released Tuesday by the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
The two other newly implicated genes were a surprise because there's no clear biological link to coffee or caffeine, according to the research. They are instead involved with cholesterol levels and blood sugar.
Source: USA Today