A new epigenome-wide association study on coffee and tea consumption in people of European and African American ancestries, conducted by a large international consortium in collaboration with the Epigenetics Group and the Nutritional Epidemiology Group of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), has revealed 11 specific epigenetic (DNA methylation) changes that are significantly associated with coffee consumption and 2 changes that are associated with tea consumption.
Among the genomic regions that are significantly associated with coffee consumption, several map to genes associated with hepatic lipid metabolism, suggesting that coffee-associated epigenetic variations may explain the mechanism of action of coffee consumption in modulating disease risk.
Interestingly, one of the coffee methylation markers overlapped with smoking-specific markers. It is possible that these are related to substances formed during coffee-roasting processes. Although the investigators accounted for smoking status in their analyses, given that cigarette smoking is associated with coffee consumption and that smoking has a notable effect on DNA methylation, the association between these epigenetic changes and coffee consumption warrants future studies.
Karabegović I, Portilla-Fernandez E, Li Y, Ma J, Maas SCE, Sun D, et al.
Epigenome-wide association meta-analysis of DNA methylation with coffee and tea consumption
bioRxiv, Posted 15 April 2020;