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Why does coffee make us? Researchers gave coffee to rats to find out

Illustration: Jim Cooke, Photo: Shutterstock

A good piece of regular coffee drinkers know that coffee is not only good for getting them awake in the morning – it also causes them to get up and go poop. But while coffee laxative forces are known, it is not clear why this particular happens. To get to the bottom of this mystery, some researchers decided that they would do exactly what one would expect scientists to give labrotters some coffee.

The preliminary results were presented this weekend at a research conference called the digestive week. to confirm a suspicion that the coffee puppet production has nothing to do with caffeine. Coffee can also kill off bacteria found in our gut.

Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston gave their rats a small cup of joe for three days, with different groups receiving both caffeine and coffee. The researchers then checked the rats' lower tube system with a physical examination and probe, focusing on the muscles as a contract and helping to guide food (and eventually wasted) through the gut. Finally, they also studied how muscle tissue from the intestine reacted directly to coffee in the laboratory. Their results were clear: the muscles of the large intestine and the large intestine could contract the after-café, which means that things could move faster along the intestine.

"Coffee has this stimulating effect on stomach motility, and it is not related to caffeine at all. We could see this even with caffeine-independent coffee, so it is caffeine independent," says lead author Xuan-Zheng Shi, associate professor of internal medicine at the university. , to Gizmodo by phone.

This study is not the first to suggest that the intestinal muscles are directly affected by coffee.As far back as 1990, researchers found that healthy people who reported themselves as coffee poopers had more movement of their colon muscles after drinking black coffee than they did who said they never felt the call.

As with the current study, the effects could be seen even when people drank decaffeinated coffee, and given the short time it took to see these contractions – within four minutes – the researchers from the 1990 study speculated that coffee could act indirectly on the colon via the small intestine or stomach. m stated that not everyone feels that you need to poop after coffee. It's really only about 30 percent.

Shi and his team did not stop studying the gut directly, however. They also looked at the rat. Compared to poop made without coffee involved, they found that there were less total bacteria in the coffee drinks pops. And when they dunked poop in a petri dish and exposed it to a solution made with 1.5 percent coffee, bacteria stopped growing as much; The same but stronger effect could be seen when they exposed them to 3 percent coffee. As before, decaffeinated coffee produced similar results.

"It's very interesting, because it means coffee can be an antibacterial agent, and we could see this again with decaffeinated coffee," Shi said. "But we must study it more, why coffee could have this suppressing effect on the microbiome."

At this moment, it is too early to say how precise coffee can affect the microbial ecosystem in our gut, known as the gut microbiome. We know that the intestinal microbiome is a sensitive environment, and if coffee extinguishes or slows the growth of bacteria that is widely considered healthy, it would be bad. On the other hand, other research has suggested that coffee can positively affect our overall colon health and reduce the risk of colon cancer (as with any diet research, however, it is difficult to be sure of anything).

Other studies have shown a link between the intestinal microbioma and a healthy moving bowel. But it's not quite clear how the former affects the latter, and Shi and his team say the coffee's effects on the gut definitely work through the microbiome, only that they have found an interesting link to keep track of.

Although gut bacteria play a role in the ability of coffee to make us poop, it is probably not the only mechanism involved either. So more research needs to be done to eliminate all these varying influences. No matter how the authors said it is worth investigating whether coffee should be used as a relatively easy way to help people with constipation or a temporarily frozen bowel, two complications may occur after certain operations. Shi and his team are also planning to have their current study published in a peer-reviewed journal within the next few months.

At the same time, for those who are wondering, there is still some good evidence that you are taking coffee on the other side through your body, aka a coffee flour, giving some health benefits or "detoxifying" you in any meaningful sense.

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