While genetic testing revealed advantages of caffeine for certain individuals, medical professionals cautioned against possible adverse effects.
A recent study suggests that drinking more caffeine could provide additional benefits besides an energy boost, including a reduction in body fat and lower risk of type 2 diabetes. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Bristol, the Karolinska Institute, and Imperial College and analyzed genetic data from 9,876 participants across six long-term studies. Specifically, the study focused on the CYP1A2 and AHR genes, which impact caffeine metabolism in the body. The results were published in the journal BMJ Medicine.
Individuals who had a faster rate of caffeine metabolism due to specific genes had a lower BMI and lower whole body fat mass, as well as a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
According to Dr. Benjamin Woolf, co-author of the study and a doctor of philosophy at the School of Psychological Science at the University of Bristol, the findings provide evidence for a link between consuming caffeine and type 2 diabetes.
“I was personally surprised by how much of this was mediated by weight loss.”
“I was personally surprised by how much of this was mediated by weight loss,” said study co-author Dr. Christian R. Boehm from the University of Bristol.
“Several studies have shown an association between caffeine and reduced risk of obesity and diabetes, but this study takes the next step to show causality,” said Dr. Marilyn Cornelis, assistant professor of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
“Using a mixture of genetic markers and plasma caffeine levels, this study helps us understand the effects of caffeine on a deeper level,” Cornelis continued. “While this data isn’t definitive and was conducted primarily in only one ethnic group, it is very interesting and thought-provoking.”
Although caffeine may have some potential benefits, it is important to weigh these against the potential risks warned Dr. Ahmet Ergin, a Florida-based endocrinologist with expertise in diabetes care, who was not involved in the study, speaking to Fox News Digital.
Dr. Ahmet Ergin, an endocrinologist with a specialty in diabetes care, warns of the potential risks of excessive caffeine consumption, despite its touted benefits.
“Despite having long been billed as an elixir of life, caffeine can have some potentially harmful side effects if abused and over-supersized,” Dr. Ergin stated.
“Despite having long been billed as an elixir of life, caffeine can have some potentially harmful side effects if abused and over-supersized,” Dr. Ergin said, adding that excessive caffeine consumption can lead to insomnia, palpitations, and even behavioral issues.
The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a daily caffeine limit of 400 milligrams, equivalent to about four to five cups of coffee.
However, Dr. Ergin emphasized that individual responses to caffeine can vary based on metabolism, tolerance, and sensitivity.
“Some people who are at risk for cardiac arrhythmias and psychiatric disorders — such as insomnia, mania or bipolar disorders — may not tolerate the drug and may have adverse events,” warned Dr. Serwer.
“Caffeine’s benefits should be weighed against its potentially dangerous side effects,” said Dr. Ahmet Ergin, a Florida-based endocrinologist with a specialty in diabetes care. “Excessive caffeine consumption can lead to insomnia, palpitations and even behavioral issues.”
The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommends sticking to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. However, Dr. Ergin pointed out that different people react differently to caffeine depending on their metabolism, tolerance and sensitivity.
“Research indicates that those who consume three to five cups per day have a lower risk of ischaemic heart disease and stroke than those who do not drink coffee,” Ergin said.
Dr. Woolf, one of the study co-authors, highlighted a caveat regarding the study’s approach to caffeine intake. “Instead of measuring the direct effect of drinking more tea, coffee or other caffeinated beverages, the study predicted caffeine levels using the genetic variants that metabolize it,” he said.
Additionally, the study had some findings that were not so straightforward, as Dr. Woolf explained, “Further findings have shown that moderate coffee drinkers may also reduce their chances of developing heart failure, though it appears to have no effect on atrial fibrillation.”
Dr. Woolf noted that in the real world, people usually consume caffeinated beverages with additives like milk, sugar, and snacks, which could contribute to weight gain. Additionally, he explained that since genes are inherited at conception, the study estimated a lifetime effect, which could differ from the short-term effect of consuming more caffeine after being advised by a doctor to lose weight.
One limitation of the study was its focus on people of European descent. However, Dr. Woolf believed that the study’s real strength was that its results were less likely to be biased because genes cannot be changed, unlike other factors that can be altered.
Dr. Serwer emphasized the importance of consulting with a doctor before increasing caffeine intake to reduce body fat, stating that “like any drug, there are pros and cons that must be weighed.”
“One should consult and discuss the topic with a medical provider to determine if it would be safe and beneficial … If you are willing to accept the risk and the pros are significant, then it may be reasonable,” advised Dr. Serwer.
He also cautioned that the study’s promising results do not guarantee weight loss or diabetes prevention from simply increasing caffeine intake. “There are proven ways to lose weight and lower blood sugar that aren’t dependent on caffeine,” he added.