Do You Have The Caffeine Gene?

Caffeine is one of the few effective (legal) performance-enhancers. But your genetics might determine the best way to time caffeine for ideal...

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Today’s Health Upgrade

  • The cancer protection plan

  • Do you have the caffeine gene?

  • Better gut health (without any pills)

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The Cancer Protection Plan

Exercise not only keeps your body fit, but it also has a remarkable ability to protect your organs from cancer and prevent it from spreading.

A 20-year review found that high-intensity exercise reduces the risk of metastatic cancer by more than 70 percent. 

The research was one of the first to examine the relationship between secondary cancer growths (metastases in areas like the lungs and liver) and exercise behaviors.

The scientists found that exercise appears to provide an “exercise-induced metabolic shield.” In other words, training at higher intensities increases the immune system's ability to recognize and eliminate cancer cells. The study also suggests that high-intensity exercise makes it harder for cancer cells to survive and grow.

If you want to train like the scientists suggest, the name of the game is intensity, such as achieving at least 80 percent of your maximum heart rate.

You can still protect your health if you can’t push as hard. Research suggests that even walking can lead to a 20 percent reduction in the likelihood of cancer. 

Do You Have The Caffeine Gene?

Does it ever seem like caffeine just doesn’t give the same boost it appears to give others? It might not be all in your head. 

According to a recent systematic review, your genes could determine how much caffeine boosts your exercise performance.

Researchers investigated the relationship between caffeine, CYP1A2 genotype (a gene that affects caffeine metabolism), and workout performance. The results revealed that individuals with a specific genotype (called AA) experienced a greater improvement in exercise performance with caffeine compared to those with a different genotype (AC or CC). 

This means that people with genes metabolizing caffeine at an intermediate or fast pace saw the most benefits. Meanwhile, the slow metabolizers saw little or no benefit, or — in some cases — they even saw a decrease in performance. 

In general, research suggests that caffeine does wonders for performance. Hundreds of studies — including a thorough meta-analysis — suggest that caffeine boosts strength, muscular endurance, aerobic endurance, power, speed, and even jumping performance. (We love this product because it doesn’t go overboard on caffeine and isn’t bloated with useless extras).

Despite the general effectiveness of caffeine, some people just won’t experience the same boost. If you want to test your genes, there are many methods (such as 23andme). It’s not necessary because people tend to see benefits from caffeine. However, if you’re on the fence about consuming caffeine or feel like it doesn’t do much for you, it’s possible that you don’t have the genes for it. 

If you want to make the most of your pre-workout caffeine, here’s your guide:

If you have a slow caffeine metabolism and want an extra kick for your workouts, you need to increase your caffeine intake (this is your excuse for an extra cup of coffee).

And, if you have the slow caffeine gene, taking caffeine more in advance of your workout — at least 60 minutes prior — might help the jolt hit at the right time. 

Remember, while caffeine can be effective, it’s not a magical solution for improving exercise performance. A good diet, proper hydration, sleep, and consistent training are still the most effective ways to achieve your fitness goals. 

Better Gut Health (Without The Pills)

Probiotics are a billion-dollar business, but there’s one problem: we still don’t fully understand exactly how to upgrade your microbiome for better health. That’s because individuals respond differently to probiotic strains. So what might work for one person won’t necessarily work for another.

That’s not to say probiotics are bad, rather they are more unpredictable. However, if you want to improve your gut health, a few changes to your diet are the easiest, most proven way to improve the health of your microbiome.

Your gut health is linked to everything from weight loss to your immune system and disease prevention. Most people recommend probiotics as a quick fix, but there’s much more research suggesting what you eat can offer more benefits. 

A 10-year study revealed that high-fiber fruits and vegetables, herbs, spices, and fermented foods can help your gut flourish. 

When you eat fermented foods, in particular — such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha — you can help lower inflammation, reduce GI tract sensitivity, and support a healthier immune system. Try adding one or two servings per day, and you’ll likely give your gut what it needs without popping additional pills. 

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell