Canada is really, really concerned about what its citizens are drinking.
After the nation’s Centre on Substance Use and Addiction urged Canadians in January to give up alcohol or, at the very least limit it to no more than two standard-size drinks per week to “avoid alcohol-related consequences for yourself or others,” America’s oppressively progressive neighbor to the north is going after coffee drinkers.
New research from the University of Toronto cites data gathered as part of a “7.5-year follow-up of 1,180 untreated participants with stage 1 hypertension” and concludes that “heavy coffee intake is associated with increases in the risk of kidney dysfunction among slow metabolizers of caffeine, who genetically comprise approximately half of the population.”
“Slow metabolizers are less able to get rid of caffeine efficiently from the body, so, it’s more likely to have adverse effects in the people who can’t get rid of it,” Ahmed El-Sohemy, a professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine, told the Toronto Star.
“We made a discovery back in 2006 with a case control study, where we showed that coffee increases the risk of a heart attack, but only in those who have a particular version of a gene that makes them effectively slow metabolizers of caffeine,” he explained.
“El-Sohemy’s most recent research suggests slow metabolizers — who are also heavy coffee drinkers — might be at higher risk for kidney dysfunction, too. Unmanaged kidney dysfunction can lead to permanent damage to the vital organ that removes toxins from our blood,” The Star reports.
Regardless of whether you’re wired after a single cup of Joe or you gulp it down until bedtime and sleep like a baby, you’re going to need genetic testing to discover whether you have the coveted “coffee gene” or are a slow metabolizer.
“Often, when I give a talk, someone will say, ‘Oh, I’m definitely a slow metabolizer because if I drink a cup of coffee in the afternoon it keeps me up at night,'” said El-Sohemy. “But there’s currently no link in terms of those types of physiological responses to caffeine and speed of metabolism.”
Depending on your reliance on java, you may want to pass on the test. An at-home nutrition-oriented DNA test will run you about $200 and it will likely be more than a month before you get the results.
“Plus, the science that backs the recommendations given through DNA kits is still emerging, so it’s unclear if, aside from a definitive answer to the coffee gene question, the other results should be taken as gospel and directives for diet and lifestyle changes,” according to The Star.
“I definitely don’t want to come across as trying to sell a genetic test,” El-Sohemy said. “So I’d advise people just assume they’re a slow metabolizer and limit intake to one cup per day.”
Not surprisingly, the Coffee Association of Canada has a different take.
“Despite the sometimes salacious headlines, there is no reason to limit #coffee #consumption,” the association tweeted on Thursday. “If you’re told to limit consumption, there are other contributing factors.”
Despite the sometimes salacious headlines, there is no reason to limit #coffee #consumption. If you’re told to limit consumption, there are other contributing factors. Thanks to our panelists!
For the #webinar recording: [email protected] #science #health #mentalhealth pic.twitter.com/m1BYUxlYU4
— Coffee Association of Canada (@CoffeeAssociat1) February 16, 2023
On Friday, the “champions for the advancement and enjoyment of coffee in Canada” posted a surprising study “carried out by scholars of the University of Bologna and the University Hospital of Bologna – Sant’Orsola Polyclinic.”
“Drinking coffee helps maintain low blood pressure,” the study proclaimed. “People who drink two or three cups of coffee a day have lower blood pressure than those who drink just one cup or none at all.”
According to a new study carried out by scholars of the University of Bologna and the University Hospital of Bologna – Sant'Orsola Polyclinic, drinking #coffee helps maintain low blood pressure.#healthhttps://t.co/peR5fMHxul
— Coffee Association of Canada (@CoffeeAssociat1) February 17, 2023
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