It has flummoxed sports nutrition researchers for years: Why do some athletes get turbo-charged with caffeine while others do not see the same performance boost after a latte? Researchers from the University of Toronto appear to have unlocked the mystery, at least in relation to men. An investigation published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows that male athletes with a specific variation in the CYP1A2 gene, which impacts caffeine metabolism, benefited from caffeine ingestion before a cycling time trial. Their counterparts with different CYP1A2 genotypes experienced either no boost or a downgrade in performance.
Now that we have this evidence, testing for an athlete’s CYP1A2 genotype might become de rigueur among sporting teams.