If you google “negative effects of” the first suggestion will be coffee.


There is a lot of debate over that. Let’s see what reasons trending articles on the Internet give: coffee causes insomnia, leads to obesity, weakens your immune system and even lowers your sex drive.

The most heated debates spark over how it affects the cardiovascular system. However, that particular questions has clear answers.  The fact of the matter is that caffeine’s effect on the heart is determined by our genes.

We have already posted about health benefits of coffee where we debunked myths and gathered facts about how healthy it is. The only caveat is that almost all the studies that we made references to in that post were about people whose genes allow them to drink coffee.

So who needs to be cautious? Caffeine metabolism rate is governed by our genes.

How coffee is flushed out of your system

First, let’s look at how caffeine is neutralised. Once caffeine gets into your system it is then broken down by CYP1A2 enzyme (which is encoded by the corresponding gene) in the liver.

The more amounts of the enzyme you have the faster caffeine flushes out of your system. On average, the half-life of caffeine in healthy people is 5 hours 45 minutes.

caffeine neutralisation welltory

The AA version of the CYP1A2 gene stimulates the production of the enzyme which is why the liver neutralises caffeine quickly. The AC and CC variants do the opposite.

In other words, some have genes that neutralise coffee easily, others do not.

About 70% of Europeans carry the “rapid” version of the gene, which means they can consume up to 6 cups of coffee a day without any harmful effects. The other 30% — the “slow” gene carriers — are recommended to drink no more than two cups a day. It is believed that the “slow” gene is found more often among Africans and Asians.

Does coffee raise blood pressure?


Mmmm, cappuccino! Is it going to affect my blood pressure or not?

The correlation between blood pressure and caffeine consumption is a moot point. Let’s look at some research data.

A group of scientists studied 553 people for 8 years to see if they would develop level 1 hypertension. They found that caffeine consumption increased the risk of hypertension for the “slow” gene carriers by 1.7-3 times.

What’s interesting is that carriers of the opposite version of the gene have a lower risk of developing hypertension if they drink more coffee.

Heart attack and coffee

What’s even more important to know for coffee lovers is that there is a proven link between coffee consumption and a heart attack. A study with 2000 people showed that the risk of a heart attack increases dramatically with every cup for those who metabolise caffeine slowly.

relative risk of heart attack caffeine welltory

So the main point here is moderation! If you haven’t checked your caffeine metabolism rate, it’s better to drink not more than 2-3 cups a week. But why guess, if you can know for sure and not limit yourself with your favourite cappuccino?

You can find out your level of caffeine tolerance, if you can do a genetic test 23andMe.

Coffee substitutes

The next question is naturally going to be “So what do people who metabolise coffee slowly do if they want to perk up?”

There is an alternative. It’s adaptogens, substances that boost your body’s resistance to various adverse factors.

For example, the following plants:

  • ginseng
  • schisandra chinensis
  • golden root
  • eleutherococcus
  • echinacea

At Welltory we select adaptogens according to our client’s health and the desired effect. We also keep track of the effect and if needed change the dosage.

In the diagram you can see the results of one of our users who asked their personal Welltory analyst to increase their energy level. The therapist took into account their health status and recommended taking golden root.

The diagram shows the results: even after this one step the user got 14% more energized.

coffee and genetic welltory

How do you find out whether coffee is good or bad for you?

How do you find out what your genes say? As we’ve mentioned, you can get genetic testing. And you can also get a large discount. You will need to download our app on your iPhone (we are working on the Android version) and text “gentest” in the chat box and our analyst will give you your personal promo code for the discount.

Or you can give yourself a check-up.

Take measurements of your wellbeing for two weeks in the morning in the Welltory app. The only thing you will need is a smartphone camera. Our health analyst will message you about what you need to do.

For the first 7 days of the experiment drink coffee as usual, don’t set any restrictions for yourself, simply take measurements.  During the second week try to keep from drinking your favourite cappuccino or Americano.

After two weeks you will be able to look up the statistics in the app and see when exactly you feel better: with or without coffee. You will see it in the stress and energy (battery icon) level diagram.

Stay energized and healthy!

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