Why Some People Get More of a Coffee “Buzz”

By Tom Porter

Have you ever wondered what is it about coffee that gives many people energy and helps them combat fatigue?

manolo coffee cup

“Caffeine works by binding to adenosine receptors in the brain (which affect a person’s need for sleep), and blocking them from being activated,” according to Professor of Neuroscience and Biology Manuel Díaz-Ríos (above left), who is also director of the neuroscience program at Bowdoin College.

Diaz-Rios was among the experts tapped for a recent Washington Post article exploring the reason why caffeine affects some people more than others. Regarding those receptors, said Diaz-Rios, some people, for genetic reasons, simply have higher levels than others, so “if you’re a person who genetically just happens to produce a lot of those receptors, then you are likely to be less sensitive to caffeine” than others. “These people have so many adenosine receptors that normal or even excess amounts of coffee won’t block them all,” we are told.

The article, which was picked up by numerous outlets, including The Seattle Times, San Francisco Gate, Yahoo News, and the UK’s Mirror newspapers, also explains how genetic variety can influence our liking for coffee and what caffeine sensitivity might mean for cardiovascular health. Read more.