The relationship between coffee and heart disease can also vary between people and this is due to a specific gene, CYP1A2, which determines how quickly our bodies break down caffeine.

Did you know that you can either be a fast or slow metabolizer of caffeine depending on the variant of this gene?

Fast metabolizers: The liver metabolizes caffeine very quickly (4x more quickly than a slow metabolizer) and clears the caffeine out of your body much more rapidly than slow metabolizers.

One study showed that heavy coffee consumption (4 or more cups a day) “only seemed to be linked to a higher likelihood of heart attacks in the slow metabolizers.” There was also an increased risk for hypertension. There was no increased risk in the fast metabolizer group.

The fast metabolizers who drank 1-3 cups of coffee actually had a reduced risk of heart attacks, which suggests that for them coffee was protective.

If you have a reduced ability to metabolize caffeine, it is recommended that you try to avoid caffeine and opt for decaf options.


The field of nutrigenomics is rapidly growing – having your genes tested will hopefully become preventative medicine. At the moment you can actually have your genes tested and the results explained to you and then receive personalized nutritional advice. This takes personalized nutrition to a whole other level. To find out more – click here.

Munchwize Registered Dietitians offer genetic testing and consultations. To book an appointment, click here.


Munchwize Registered Dietitians are based in Claremont, Cape Town