10

votes

Coffee and Gut Flora

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 27, 2011 at 5:38 PM

From a study on the effect of coffee consumption on gut flora:

The impact of a moderate consumption of an instant coffee on the general composition of the human intestinal bacterial population was assessed in this study. Sixteen (16) healthy adult volunteers consumed a daily dose of 3??cups of coffee during 3??weeks. Faecal samples were collected before and after the consumption of coffee, and the impact of the ingestion of the product on the intestinal bacteria as well as the quantification of specific bacterial groups was assessed using nucleic acid-based methods. Although faecal profiles of the dominant microbiota were not significantly affected after the consumption of the coffee (Dice's similarity index = 92%, n = 16), the population of Bifidobacterium spp. increased after the 3-week test period (P = 0.02). Moreover, in some subjects, there was a specific increase in the metabolic activity of Bifidobacterium spp. Our results show that the consumption of the coffee preparation resulting from water co-extraction of green and roasted coffee beans produce an increase in the metabolic activity and/or numbers of the Bifidobacterium spp. population, a bacterial group of reputed beneficial effects, without major impact on the dominant microbiota

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168160509000166

I did a paleohacks search on coffee and gut flora, but the subject doesn't appear to have been discussed.

What are your thoughts, does coffee have a beneficial impact on gut flora, especially the beneficial bifidobacterium spp.?

The link between coffee and its beneficial effects on T2DM, etc. still seems to be an open book. Perhaps gut flora is one of the missing links?

Medium avatar

on November 28, 2011
at 05:13 AM

I dig. Let me know if you come across any such studies- would indeed be interesting.

Medium avatar

on November 27, 2011
at 10:31 PM

Yea I don't know if any studies have been done comparing the effects of varying amounts of coffee on gut bacteria but I'd def be interested to see one. Once in a while it won't hurt you, I'm just talking about daily use over time.

Medium avatar

on November 27, 2011
at 08:17 PM

And when I say 1 cup, I mean intermittently rather than 1x/day (chronic).

Medium avatar

on November 27, 2011
at 08:13 PM

Thanks for the thoughtful response. I agree about the long-term effects of chronic consumption. My interest in coffee lies in potential hormetic effects and finding an optimal range on a theoretical inverted J curve. In short, is 1 cup > 0 cups >> 5 cups a la red wine/alcohol?

Medium avatar

on November 27, 2011
at 07:18 PM

To complete the probiotic thought, I usually feel worse initially when starting back, then feel better after a while (understanding the need to take it slow when reintroducing them).

Medium avatar

on November 27, 2011
at 07:12 PM

You know, I've always felt the same way. However, today I made the connection that probiotics always make me feel worse initially as well, potentially due to a purging effect. Now I wonder if coffee does the same thing via some sort of gut flora rebalancing. Not advocating for coffee, I fact I rarely drink it despite loving the taste. Hope there will be further study in this area.

A1a0baccef58499acf9ceb3c874997f2

(675)

on November 27, 2011
at 06:32 PM

I know that since I started drinking coffee about ten years ago, my digestion has gotten way worse. But that may be due less to gut flora than to caffeine and acidity. Thanks for sharing this information. Interesting. :)

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

2 Answers

4
Medium avatar

on November 27, 2011
at 08:02 PM

Great question. My initial impression is that the implications of this particular study probably aren't that big because bifidobacterium makes up a small minority of the bacteria in our gut, with the majority being from the Bacteroides and Firmicutes divisions. Secondly, caffeine has many effects on the body, one of which is raising cortisol levels, which some studies show has a damaging effect on the gut. This study is more likely to support the idea that caffeine has a beneficial effect on our gut bacteria since it showed that coffee boosted the levels of Bacteroides, but I'm not sold on it either because it wasn't done in vivo http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/8751/title/Food_for_Thought__A_Gut_Feeling_about_Coffee. The conclusion I've come to about coffee and any source of caffeine is that although there are a range of studies touting their benefits, their negative effects are greater for most people due to the fact that it's a stimulant of the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal glands. Over time this leads to adrenal fatigue and eventually burnout if it isn't stopped. I just don't think we need to rely on stimulants for energy if we have ideal health, which many people on this website will tell you is possible to achieve just by eating a healthy diet. Coffee may have some short term benefits for our gut bacteria but I believe that's trumped by the negative effects it has on the body in the long term, such as adrenal problems, hypersecretion of stomach acids and irritation of the gut.

Medium avatar

on November 27, 2011
at 08:17 PM

And when I say 1 cup, I mean intermittently rather than 1x/day (chronic).

Medium avatar

on November 27, 2011
at 10:31 PM

Yea I don't know if any studies have been done comparing the effects of varying amounts of coffee on gut bacteria but I'd def be interested to see one. Once in a while it won't hurt you, I'm just talking about daily use over time.

Medium avatar

on November 27, 2011
at 08:13 PM

Thanks for the thoughtful response. I agree about the long-term effects of chronic consumption. My interest in coffee lies in potential hormetic effects and finding an optimal range on a theoretical inverted J curve. In short, is 1 cup > 0 cups >> 5 cups a la red wine/alcohol?

Medium avatar

on November 28, 2011
at 05:13 AM

I dig. Let me know if you come across any such studies- would indeed be interesting.

0
491f59950a95e18f798028fb2491912c

on November 28, 2012
at 05:21 PM

I think one cup of coffee per day is a good idea because it is a dense source of B vitamins. One 8 oz cup of coffee gives you 3% B1 (Thiamine), 14% B2 (Riboflavin), 3% B3 (Niacin), 12% B5, and 1% B9 (Folate) -- all for only 2 calories.

It also gives you 95mg of caffeine which is the down side and why I thinks it best to have only one cup of coffee.

The best time to drink it is when you get hungry between meals. It will curve you appetite and help you avoid unnecessary calories.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!