Mohave County
May 2024
Volume 24 Issue 3

Dec 2023 | December 2023

Regular Coffee: A Possible Aid in Preventing and Easing IBS

December 2023

December 2023

Could Your Daily Cup of Coffee Ease IBS?
Here’s some potentially good news for coffee lovers: your morning brew might do more than just wake you up. A large study suggests that regular coffee drinking could help prevent or ease irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). But, it’s not a one-size-fits-all remedy.
This extensive study looked at over 430,000 people’s coffee habits and their IBS symptoms. Surprisingly, it found that for many, coffee seems to protect against IBS. However, for some, it might have the opposite effect.
IBS is known to affect more women than men. The study aimed to clarify the mixed messages we’ve heard about coffee and IBS. The researchers looked at data from various studies, totaling a whopping 432,022 participants, to get a clearer picture. They found that, generally, people who drink any amount of coffee regularly are about 16% less likely to develop IBS.
But here’s the catch: coffee is complex. With over a hundred different compounds that can change depending on where it’s from, how it’s roasted, and even how it’s brewed, this makes studying its effects tricky. Plus, many of these studies relied on people remembering and accurately reporting their coffee intake and IBS symptoms, which can sometimes be unreliable.
These interesting findings are published in the journal Nutrients.
Coffee and IBS: What’s the Connection?
So, what’s in coffee that might help with IBS? The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Qin Xiang Ng from the National University of Singapore, explains that coffee is packed with beneficial compounds like polyphenols. These have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which might help soothe the gut.
However, gastroenterologist Dr. Babak Firoozi, not involved in the study, points out that not everyone’s gut agrees with coffee. For some, especially those with diarrhea-predominant IBS, coffee might actually worsen their symptoms. This is because coffee can stimulate the intestines and speed up digestion – not ideal for those already dealing with frequent bowel movements.
Dr. Firoozi doesn’t recommend coffee as a go-to remedy for IBS, but he notes that it’s great for people with fatty liver disease. He suggests at least one cup a day, even decaffeinated, as it’s known to help reduce liver issues and prevent gallstones.
Why This Study Matters
Despite the potential benefits of coffee for IBS, Dr. Firoozi reminds us that the results of studies like this one can sometimes be hard to interpret fully. He’s hopeful, though, that future research will give us a clearer understanding of how coffee can help those with IBS.
Dr. Ng, too, sees the need for more research. He believes coffee could have protective effects against IBS and wants to see more studies to confirm this.
How Common is IBS?
IBS is quite common, causing symptoms like stomach pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and gas. It’s a condition where the gastrointestinal tract becomes overly sensitive, leading to discomfort. However, it’s not linked to a higher risk of colorectal cancer.
A study in 2020, involving data from 34 countries, found that about 4% to 9% of people have IBS. It’s more prevalent in women and tends to occur more in wealthier countries.

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