Brazilian researchers say they have identified previously unknown protein fragments in coffee that have similar sedative effects to morphine.
The fragments, labeled as opioid peptides, were discovered by researchers within the genetics and biotechnology division of the livestock company Embrapa, as well as scientists from the University of Brasilia. The groups are applying for patents for the peptides with Brazilian regulators.
In an announcement Jan. 15, researchers said the coffee peptides “have an effect similar to morphine, in other words they have an analgesic and sedative activity.”
They also said coffee’s morphine-like effects last longer than those created by morphine. They “have a positive differential: Their effects last longer in experiments with laboratory mice,” the groups said.
The study grew out of the doctorate work of doctorate research work of Felipe Vinecky and the University of Brasilia molecular biology department, who were experimenting with combining coffee genes, with the goal of improving quality.