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Thread: Is caffeine good or bad for you? Does it worsen or help with anxiety/depression? Turns out it's all in your genes...

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Is caffeine good or bad for you? Does it worsen or help with anxiety/depression? Turns out it's all in your genes...

    When I was in my late teens, I noticed something which seemed to be unusual about myself. Ingesting caffeine (at the time, from drinking soda) would give me the benefits of alertness and a temporary reprieve from grogginess, but I didn't seem to suffer the bad side effects from it. No jitters. No insomnia. No irritability. I could ingest a lot of caffeine, then lie down and go to sleep without any trouble.

    Other people I knew weren't like this. Some couldn't fall asleep at 10pm if they had caffeine after 3pm. Others experienced the jitters/irritability from it.

    Many years later, I asked my parents if they were like this. They both told me that they also had no undesirable side effects from caffeine, and could drink coffee shortly before bed without issue. I then asked my brother and sister, who reported the same thing.

    I didn't think much about this, until I experienced my LPR problems in August 2018. One of the pieces of advice for LPR? Quit caffeine, as it makes things worse.

    Desperate to solve it, I quit a 30-year caffeine habit cold turkey. Five days later, a crippling anxiety and depression issue showed up. A few weeks after that, I wondered if the caffeine withdrawal caused it, but there was little medical evidence to support such a theory.

    However, upon returning to taking the caffeine (now in pill form, to avoid the regular drinking of soda), I noticed that sometimes it gave me a temporary improvement from the anxiety and depression symptoms.

    I then researched using caffeine to fight anxiety and depression, but found the disheartening news that it tends to make those conditions WORSE, so I eased away from it again.

    Then I decided I should judge for myself and try again. For sure, caffeine wasn't making things worse, and indeed it was sometimes (but not always) leading to an improvement in my mood and level of anxiety. Since then, I've taken one 100mg caffeine pill (which is a fairly low dose) per day.

    In various anxiety forums, most people have reported that caffeine makes their situation worse, and some have said it makes things much worse. A few reported exactly what I did -- that it seemed to help.

    Yesterday I came up with a theory: Perhaps my good tolerance of caffeine was linked to the fact that it seems to help me with anxiety.

    Turned out the theory was correct.

    Read on in the next post where I explain.

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Take a look at this interesting webpage: https://drwillcole.com/caffeine-one-...ptimal-health/

    It turns out that there is a "caffeine gene", which dictates your tolerance to caffeine:

    Reactions to coffee seem strangely individual. Some people can drink it after dinner and go straight to sleep, while others have one cup in the morning and feel jittery, sweaty, or get heart palpitations. What gives? Meet your caffeine gene. Itís called CYP1A2 because it controls the enzyme CYP1A2, and its this enzyme that determines how you metabolize caffeine: fast, meaning you tolerate it well and it leaves your system quickly, or slow, meaning your body doesnít get rid of it efficiently, so you feel its effects harder and longer.

    We inherit two copies of the caffeine gene, one from mom and one from dad. If you have the fast variant, your liver breaks down caffeine quickly and efficiently. If you have two of the fast variants, you handle coffee (and tea and even energy drinks) like a boss, breaking down caffeine four times faster than those who have one or two of the slow variants of this gene. Are you one of the lucky ones? Hereís the breakdown:

    40 percent of people are fast metabolizers, with two copies of the fast variant.
    45 percent have one slow and one fast copy, so they are middle-of-the-road caffeine metabolizers.
    15 percent carry two copies of the slow variant and are slow metabolizers.

    The "fast metabolizer" perfectly describes my reaction to caffeine -- being able to ingest a lot of it without any ill effects, yet still gaining the positives from it.

    Note that you need TWO fast metabolizer genes to be a fast metabolizer yourself, one from each parent. Since both of my parents are fast caffeine metabolizers, that means they both had two fast metabolizer genes themselves, thus guaranteeing all of their children to also be fast caffeine metabolizers (which is indeed the case).

    So that explains my ability to ingest caffeine without any bad side effects, but how does that connect to how it helps my anxiety?

    [In fast metabolizers], caffeine has been shown to improve cognitive function, decrease brain fog, and increase mental acuity. It can also increase the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, improving mood. . . Short version: caffeine is great for fast-metabolizer brains!
    And what about slow metabolizers -- the people who tend to suffer a lot of the undesirable side-effects from caffeine?

    It's pretty much the opposite.

    You are much more likely to feel anxious jittery, and sweaty after consuming caffeine. You may get heart palpitations or even panic attacks. Caffeine withdrawal also commonly causes severe headaches in slow metabolizers.

    The article even goes on to claim that being a fast caffeine metabolizer means that caffeine ingestion in fast metabolizers lowers cancer and diabetes risk, among others!

    The bottom line is that the research cited in this article claims that caffeine is almost a wonder drug for fast metabolizers, but kind of a poison for slow metabolizers.

    Of course, there are lots of quackish claims online, so can I trust any of this?

    I think so.

    I observed many things in this article with myself and immediate family members, prior to reading it:

    1) Good tolerance of caffeine seemed to run in my family, with both siblings and both parents handling it in identical fashion

    2) I never personally experienced any negative side effects with caffeine

    3) Caffeine has been helpful in my recovery process from my sudden and severe anxiety from 7 months ago

    4) Many anxiety sufferers claim that caffeine noticeably makes them worse, but others insist the opposite

    This article confirms all of the above.


    You can make use of this information, too, and adapt your caffeine intake to your own personal situation.

    Are you like me, where caffeine never creates insomnia or any other negative side effect? You're very likely a fast metabolizer, and should try ingesting more caffeine, and see if it helps some of your other issues.

    Do you have a lot of issues with side effects from caffeine? Then you're slow metabolizer, and should avoid it if possible.

    Do you have mild issues with caffeine side effects? Then you're probably a medium metabolizer (one fast, one slow gene), and it's unclear if caffeine will help or hurt you.


    I am going to try to increase my caffeine consumption from 100mg/day to 200mg (which I was already doing prior to the LPR showing up), and see if it helps further.

    You can buy caffeine pills online, or at your local drug store.

    I personally found this info very interesting, and felt I'd share it with everyone here, especially since it should be relatively easy to correctly guess your genetics regarding caffeine tolerance.

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Here's a similar article from "the failing NY Times", basically saying the same thing:

    https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/...in-your-genes/

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    I've just been reading about it since today, since I found the original article I posted.

    Since caffeine is apparently beneficial to me, I think I will get some l-theanine and see what it does for me.

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Okay, I just ordered some l-theanine.

    Doesn't seem to have reported side effects, and that article I posted claims it works well with caffeine for fast caffeine metabolizers like me, so might as well give it a shot.

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    Best treatment for depression / anxiety:

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    100% Organic MumblesBadly's Avatar
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    Druff, what is found in the blog article you linked may be true, but it is wise to be skeptical of claims making references to scientific research that do not provide specific citations. The blog article fails to provide them, which makes it extremely difficult for a reader to determine whether the author is accurately representing the findings in those articles.

    Again, Iím not saying that the information in that blog is wrong, just that it does not provide enough information for a reader to independently verify its claims about the science it purports to be based on.
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    Canadrunk limitles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Okay, I just ordered some l-theanine.

    Doesn't seem to have reported side effects, and that article I posted claims it works well with caffeine for fast caffeine metabolizers like me, so might as well give it a shot.
    It's also known to reduce blood pressure
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