If you like a lot of people, your morning cup with Joe is bright-eyed and ready for the day – as soon as you're done with the shit.
But what about the brew that breaks your bowels? Many people think caffeine gets things going, but that may not be the case, according to a preliminary study done on rats. Critters who drank both caffeinated and caffeine-free coffees had fewer bacteria in their poo than rats that were not given coffee, Gizmodo . This indicates that a compound in coffee can kill intestinal bacteria to affect bowel movements.
"Coffee has a stimulating effect on gut motility, and it has nothing to do with caffeine at all. We even observed this with decaffeinated coffee, so it's caffeine-independent, "said study author Xuan-Zheng Shi, associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Medical Department in Galveston, Gizmodo . The study has not yet been published but presented at the Week of Digestive Diseases Research Conference, May 1
Of course, this study has not been done on humans, and much more research needs to be done before we can determine if coffee is detrimental to gut health.
Other studies have shown that caffeine may not be the only reason why we go to the bathroom. Scientists already knew that coffee causes intestinal contractions that activate this Gotta-Go urge, Dr. Satish Rao, director of the Digestive Health Center at Georgia Regents University.
Two decades ago, Dr. Rao and Dr. His teams recruited 12 lucky people who were wearing anal probes with sensors that measured pressure activity across different parts of their colon and rectum. Within 10 hours, the subjects drank the same amounts of caffeine-containing coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and hot water, and ate a 1,000-calorie burger meal.
The food triggered the greatest activity in the participants' intestines, but the researchers were surprised to discover that caffeine-containing Java caused contractions of nearly similar strength – 60 percent stronger than hot water and 23 percent more intense than caffeine-free.
This shows that caffeine, a well-known stimulant, plays a role in helping your colon get started, but it's not the only player involved. There's probably something in coffee that's responsible for getting you to number 2, Dr. Rao.
Experts have a theory: Just minutes after taking Java, it gets into your stomach. One or more of their hundreds of compounds trigger the production of certain hormones in your body, eg. Motilin, which stimulates intestinal contraction, or gastrin, which causes acid secretion in your stomach. Then the shit starts.
However, scientists say it is also possible that a combination of is involved in everything in your AM. routinely scurry to the toilet.
Your colon is about twice as active in the morning thanks to the circadian rhythm of your body, Dr. Rao. Add the breakfast, wash it off with coffee – both trigger colonic contractions independently – and you can see why you ask for a crap afterwards.
To avoid overtime in the office restroom, do not let your Starbucks run for about 2 hours after waking up. This will give your colon enough time to calm down from his morning rev. Rao.
And when you drink your first cup, try not to combine it with food or exercise as it will also boost your gut.