Is it possible that a person can be hypersensitive or allergic to the alkaloids or some other chemical in coffee specifically?

Answered on October 09, 2016
Created September 15, 2016 at 4:25 PM

Hello, after years and years of trying to figure out what my triggers are for chronic gut issues, I've come to coffee as my #1, despite loving coffee. Even spending way too much on Asprey's great but overpriced coffee. I have secondary triggers such as sugar, alcohol, and especially dark chocolate (close second to coffee) but it's coffee more than anything non paleo. I can eat wheat all I want (which I don't usually) without any effects I can feel.

What I notice with coffee, is first, that very much like alcohol, I cannot tolerate it during a meal. My stomach has to be empty or I'm bloated, burping, and have indigestion and mild GERD symptoms. I feel like it's a slow burning going through my entire gut, from my esophagus to my stomach and small intestines. Sometimes I don't feel this "burn" type feeling until after it hitting my duodenum and small intestines, and it can be a delayed reaction.

Then I feel this jitteryness that is unrelated to the caffiene. I think it's a cortisol reaction due to inflammation. I can take in equal amounts of caffiene from tea or red bulls without this jitteryness at all. 

If I have as little as one cup a day for too many days in a row, these symptoms compound and progress, until my gut is bloated with every meal and I fell like I cannot process food. If I take just one day without coffee, I don't have these symptoms. 


What's different about me that I cannot tolerate it but other people can drink it daily without these effects? I know the obvious answer is to stop it or cut it way down of course, which I'm doing. 

Is there a specific allergy to something in coffee and dark chocolate? The latter causes several gut issues and curious mood swings the next day.

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3 Answers


on October 09, 2016
at 09:37 AM

Most commercial coffee has mold in it, which produces mycotoxins. That could be causing your issues.


on September 27, 2016
at 12:36 AM

Thanks, I have been much better drinking coffee before meals. I need to cut down a bit too. I'm not too triggered by very much if I don't have coffee or alcohol with food. Even gluten does little to nothing to me. 


on September 26, 2016
at 09:58 PM

I used to have the same problem. It went away when I stopped drinking coffee with meals. I've dug out Dr Chutkan's book and she writes that 'caffeinated beverages can stimulate the digestive system, leading to spasms that can cause bloating. Caffeine can also worsen conditions associated with bloating such as stomach ulcers, gastritis and ulcers. Despite the stimulant effect of caffeine, which can trigger bowel movements in some people, the diuretic effects can lead to dehydration, slowing down movement through the intestines and causing backups and bloating'. For me the worse combination is coffee and cake (like the 4 o'clock snack in Germany). I can sometimes have coffee after a long and heavy meal (several courses): I think in this case it helps digestion, by increasing production of gastric acid and stimulating bowel movement. However what works best for me is to drink coffee on its own, on an empty stomach. I generally have coffee with coconut oil in the morning (a couple of hours after getting up and several hours before my first meal of the day, around 1pm). Initially, this would trigger a bowel movement (at my worst, even the smell of coffee would be enough for me to suddenly want the toilet, like a Pavlov reflex). I have now trained my gut to dissociate coffee intake and passing stools. There's some interesting stuff on the internet on the gastrocolic reflex. The gut is definitely the second brain: it has a mind of its own.

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