Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Coffee: Bugs and Debugging

Coffee can bug or de-bug you - in many different ways.

It can actually energize your gut bugs. Nestlé researchers showed that for sixteen healthy adult volunteers consuming a daily dose of 3 cups of coffee during 3 weeks. This led to an increase of the metabolic activity and/or numbers of Bifidobacterium species, important probiotics in the food industry. Bifidobacteria has been long suggested to be therapeutic for the relief of intestinal disorders, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). These microbes can crowd out the bad bacteria and fight inflammation. Does it mean coffee can alleviate IBS?

Unfortunately, no one was ever able to cure IBS with coffee. And diets lowering the amounts of bifidobacteria (like low FODMAP diet) are actually most beneficial for conditions associated with bacterial imbalance. Even though Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 was shown to help women at a dosage of 1x108 CFU  for 4 weeks (but not 10or 10CFU!) with abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation and other IBS symptoms. And B. lactis DN-173 010 helped healthy women to reduce transit time when 1010 CFU of these bacteria was taken for 10 days.
RNA-DGGE gels of fecal samples showing abundance
and/or metabolic activity of dominant bacteria
before and after
 coffee consumption
Too much of a good thing can be a problem and it's important to keep even "good" bacteria at bay. How much is too much coffee for IBS sufferers? It depends. And it varies from being able to only smell coffee (which might be enough to protect from stress and cavities) to drinking two cups per day.

Everything is relative. That's why Aurametrix computes tolerance profiles based on many different factors - time of the consumption relative to wake up and bed times, diet an hour, week and month prior to consumption, medications and supplements, activity, gender, medical history, stress levels, the weather and genetics.

General recommendation for healthy people is to limit their coffee intake to about 4 or 3 cups - for men and women respectively.  To prevent insomnia, digestive issues, a racing heart, high blood pressure, nervousness, irritability, nausea, risk of developing glaucoma and other short & long term problems. And it's best to drink coffee in the first half of the day - as caffeine's half life is 5 hours or more, longer with unhealthy diet and medical conditions (it could be up to 7 days for people with alcoholic hepatic disease!). The worse your coffee metabolism is, the less you should drink it. Genetically-slow caffeine metabolizers (individuals homozygous for the  CYP1A2*1A allele in their genes) should actually limit coffee to 1 cup or less, to reduce the risk of myocardial infarction. Rapid caffeine metabolizers with CYP1A2*1F genotype, on the other hand, could reduce their heart failure risk by moderate consumption of coffee. Coffee could help mice avoid skin cancer - but only if they are also vigorously exercising. It can prevent reoccurence of breast cancer - if you already had it and are taking tamoxifen. With the right genes, bacteria, diet, activities and the brain gut axis, moderate amounts of coffee can also decrease risks of type 2 diabetes,  depression, workplace apathy, cognitive decline, gout attacks, respiratory disease, infections, stroke, injuries and accidents.

But these are statistical averages. And you are not average. You are unique and paradoxical in your own wonderful way. Aurametrix was created to help you understand that.

What is your Coffee worth?


Jaquet M, Rochat I, Moulin J, Cavin C, & Bibiloni R (2009). Impact of coffee consumption on the gut microbiota: a human volunteer study. International journal of food microbiology, 130 (2), 117-21 PMID: 19217682

Cornelis, MC et al., 2006. Coffee, CYP1A2 genotype, and risk of myocardial infarction. J. Amer. Med. Assn. 295(10):1135-1141.

Nehlig A: The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance. Br J Clin Pharmacol 2013, 75:716–727.

Lucas M, Mirzaei F, Pan A, Okereke OI, Willett WC, O'Reilly ÉJ, Koenen K, Ascherio A: Coffee, caffeine, and risk of depression among women. Arch Intern Med 2011, 171:1571–1578

Jin JS, Touyama M, Hisada T, Benno Y: Effects of green tea consumption on human fecal microbiota with special reference to Bifidobacterium species. Microbiol Immunol 2012, 56:729–739.

Maria Simonsson, Viktoria Söderlind, Maria Henningson, Maria Hjertberg, Carsten Rose, Christian Ingvar, Helena Jernström. Coffee prevents early events in tamoxifen-treated breast cancer patients and modulates hormone receptor status. Cancer Causes & Control, 2013; 24 (5): 929 DOI: 10.1007/s10552-013-0169-1

Tzounis X, Rodriguez-Mateos A, Vulevic J, Gibson GR, Kwik-Uribe C, Spencer JP: Prebiotic evaluation of cocoa-derived flavanols in healthy humans by using a randomized, controlled, double-blind, crossover intervention study. Am J Clin Nutr 2011, 93:62–72.

Mostofsky E, Rice MS, Levitan EB, Mittleman MA. Habitual coffee consumption and risk of heart failure: a dose-response meta-analysis.  Circ Heart Fail. 2012 Jul 1;5(4):401-5. doi: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.112.967299. Epub 2012 Jun 26.

Gabashvili, I. Why red beans and rice are good.. but not with coffee. Forbes, 4/30/2012


Anonymous said...

I'm always sorry to see research reports where the n is so low. 16 people is proof of almost nothing. This is statistically of "no account"

Aurametrix said...

You are right, the study provides an interesting insight, but its statistical power is too low. Unfortunately it is the norm in research papers.

Bill said...

I'm also not entirely sure what to think about the relationship between bifidobacteria and IBS - supplements with either pro or prebiotics are clearly beneficial (eg, http://caloriesproper.com/?p=1273), but so are diets which reduce endogenous bifidobacteria.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

the statistical power is way too low. but ..interesting article!
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Sounds easy and delicous .I like canned fruits best.

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Matt said...

Coffee(s) are very interesting. However, they have several side effects that are never highlighted. Anyway, I still enjoy mine white and black Cassette adapters

Unknown said...


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