Caffeine in your blood could affect body fat and diabetes risk, study finds: ScienceAlert

Caffeine levels in your blood could affect the amount of body fat you carry, a factor that could in turn determine your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

These are the results of a new study that used genetic markers to establish a more definitive link between caffeine levels, BMI and the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The research team, from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the University of Bristol in the UK and Imperial College London in the UK, say calorie-free caffeinated drinks could be explored as a way potential to help reduce body fat levels.

“Higher genetically predicted plasma caffeine concentrations were associated with lower BMI and lower body fat mass,” the researchers write in their published paper.

“Furthermore, genetically predicted higher plasma caffeine concentrations were associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. It is estimated that approximately half of the effect of caffeine on causation of type 2 diabetes is mediated by reducing BMI.

The study involved data from just under 10,000 people collected from existing genetic databases, focusing on vvariations in or near specific genes known to be associated with the rate at which caffeine is broken down. In general, those with variations affecting the genes – namely CYP1A2 and a gene that regulates it, called AHR – tend to break down caffeine more slowly, allowing it to stay in the bloodstream longer. Yet they also tend to drink less caffeine in general.

An approach called Mendelian randomization has been used to deterexplore the likely causal relationships between the presence of variations, diseases such as diabetes, body mass, and lifestyle factors.

Although there is a significant link between caffeine levels, BMI and the risk of type 2 diabetes, no relationship has emerged between the amount of caffeine in the blood and cardiovascular disease, including atrial fibrillation, heart failure and strokes.

Previous studies have linked moderate and relative increases in caffeine intake to better heart health and lower BMI, and the new research adds more detail to what we already know about the effects of coffee on the body.

It is important to also keep in mind the effects of caffeine on the body are not all positivewhich means you have to take care when weighing the benefits of drinking it – but this latest study is an important step in assessing the ideal amount of caffeine.

“Small, short-term trials have shown that caffeine consumption leads to reduced weight and fat mass, but the long-term effects of caffeine consumption are unknown,” the researchers write.

The team thinks the association shown here may be due to the way caffeine increases thermogenesis (heat production) and fat oxidation (turning fat into energy) in the body, both of which play a role. important in overall metabolism.

However, more research will be needed to confirm cause and effect. Although this study involved a large sample, Mendelian randomization is not foolproof, and it is always possible that other factors are at play that were not considered in this study.

“Given the large consumption of caffeine worldwide, even its small metabolic effects could have important health implications,” the researchers write.

The research has been published in BMJ Medicine.

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