DNA Caffeine Sensitivity Test

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Results in 2 to 4 weeks
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Fee Schedule for Year 2019 Order

Test Type Testing Time Fee
DNA Caffeine Sensitivity Test 2 to 4 weeks $2920Order Kit

All orders received before 2pm are shipped out the same business day. All orders received after 2pm or on weekends or holidays are shipped out the following business day. 24/7 online status check and account management available for all tests.

What is caffeine?

Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive drug in the world. Unlike other drugs that affect our brain, it’s legal, unregulated, and is available in many different forms. Once in the body caffiene induces the production of adrenaline, which increases alertness, heart rate and blood pressure, and the liver releases more sugar into the bloodstream for extra energy.

Caffeine also increases dopamine levels. Dopamine is the "feel good" neurotransmitter that activates pleasure centers in certain parts of the brain. The increase in dopamine likely contributes to caffeine addiction, in a similar manner to other addictive drugs, such as cocaine.

More than 90% of adults in developed countries consume caffeine regularly. It is generally recognized as safe, but heavy caffeine use can result in unpleasant side effects such as insomnia, headaches, irritability and nervousness. Heavy caffeine users often become dependent on the drug and can develop a tolerance to caffeine; they require increasing amounts to obtain the same desired effects.

Caffeine and heart atacks

More than 95% of the caffeine that enters the body is broken down by one enzyme, cytochrome P450 1A2, encoded by the CYP1A2 gene. Variations in the CYP1A2 gene determine whether an individual is a fast or slow caffeine metabolizer.

Slow metabolizers take longer to clear caffeine from the body, therefore have an increased risk of heart problems and high blood pressure. Heart disease is one of the major causes of death for both men and women worldwide and are often preventable by making simple lifestyle modifications that focus on diet and exercise.

One very simple dietary change - reducing or eliminating caffeine consumption - can significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks in individuals with a slow caffeine metabolism.

What is cytochrome P450 1A2?

Cytochrome P450 1A2 is an enzyme involved in drug metabolism. It is responsible for breaking down 95% of the caffeine in the body. Two common genetic variants in CYP1A2 lead to differences in caffeine sensitivity.

The "fast" metabolizer allele results in increased levels of the CYP1A2 enzyme. Lower levels of the CYP1A2 enzyme are produced in individuals who have the "slow" allele, and these individuals have a slow caffeine metabolism and an increased risk of heart attacks.

How are the CYP1A2 alleles inherited?

CYP1A2 is located on an autosomal chromosome (chromosome 15). Autosomal chromosomes are inherited in pairs - one from each parent. It is possible to inherit two copies of the same allele (either homozygous "fast" or homozygous "slow") or one copy of each allele (heterozygous). People with at least one copy of the "slow" allele are slow caffeine metabolizers.

DNA testing for CYP1A2 alleles

A simple DNA test can determine which CYP1A2 alleles you have inherited. The variation that distinguishes the "fast" and "slow" alleles is in the regulatory region of the gene at position -163. It controls the production of the enzyme.  The "slow" allele is designated -163C and the "fast" allele is designated -163A. The possible genotypes are:

  • -163 AA = "Fast" caffeine metabolizer. Coffee consumption does not increase the risk of heart attacks. This person will pass the "fast" allele to all of their children.
  • -163 AC = "Slow" caffeine metabolizer. Coffee consumption increases the risk of heart attacks. This person has a 50% chance of passing the "slow" allele to their children and a 50% chance of passing the "fast" allele to their children.
  • -163 CC = "Slow" caffeine metabolizer. Coffee consumption increases the risk of heart attacks. This person will pass the "slow" allele to all of their children.
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