Researchers Use Rats to Find Out Why Coffee Makes Us Poop

21 Mai, 2019, 09:52 | Auteur: Yves Courtet

Coffee lovers are always quick to point out the benefits a cup of Joe has on their digestive system, but now scientists have dug deeper into why.

They suspected the gut microbiome may also play a role and made a decision to look at how coffee was affecting bacteria in the gut.

The researchers gave rats coffee with caffeine and decaffeinated coffee for three days and saw that throughout the period, their small intestines had an improved ability to contract, regardless of the level of caffeine content. These effects of coffee were interestingly were found to be independent of caffeine, as caffeine-free coffee also showed same results as coffee with caffeine did.

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"When rats were treated with coffee for three days, the ability of the muscles in the small intestine to contract appeared to increase", said Xuan-Zheng Shi, lead author of the study.

Researchers examined changes to bacteria when faecal matter was exposed to coffee in a petri dish, and by studying the composition of faeces after rats ingested differing concentrations of coffee over three days. They found that the production of bacteria was significantly decreased when the feces was exposed to both caffeinated and uncaffinated coffee.

The team admitted that more research will need to be done to find out whether these changes are affecting "good" bacteria - known as Firmicutes - or "bad" bacteria called enterobacteria. The study also documented changes to smooth muscles in the intestine and colon, and the response of those muscles when exposed directly to coffee. The research will form the basis for further investigation into whether coffee can be a viable treatment for ileus, or post-operative constipation, in which the intestines quit working after abdominal surgery. That growth was even lower with a 3 percent solution. Active ingredients in coffee such as caffeine, hydroxycinnamic acids notably chlorogenic acid, trigonelline, diterpenes eg cafestol and kahweol, and caffeic acid can all have benefits to drinkers.

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