Why Does Coffee Upset My Stomach?

Why Does Coffee Upset My Stomach

Ever wonder, “Why does coffee upset by stomach?”

It’s the third most consumed beverage in the world only after water and tea. And you’ll find over 100 different varieties coming from all regions of the earth, ranging from Colombia to Ethiopia.

And once in the hands of a capable barista, sky’s the limit. You get hot or cold variations as well as different kinds of coffee drinks.

But even if you want or need to drink more, you sometimes can’t because of what it does to your tummy.


Why Does Coffee Upset My Stomach?

According to researchers in Europe, it isn’t one ingredient in coffee that causes stomach issues. Instead, it is a mix of different compounds.

The researchers from the University of Vienna in Austria and Germany’s Technische Universitat Munchen, learned that caffeine, catechols and substances called N-alkanoly-5-hydroxtryptamides are responsible for what’s happening to your stomach each time you drink a cup of joe.

These compounds stimulate the acid production in the stomach which results in the discomfort.


What Coffee Does to the Stomach

An upset stomach isn’t just the problem your stomach can experience from drinking coffee. Here are a few more gastrointestinal conditions that drinking java can cause

Coffee Increases Stomach Acid

ground coffeeAs mentioned above, coffee has a number of ingredients that stimulate stomach acid production.

These ingredients rev up our stomach cells which isn’t always a good thing.

Too much acid in our tummies causes irritation.

Stomach irritation, also known as gastritis, shows itself via heartburn, stomach pain, nausea, hiccups and vomiting.


Drinking a cup or two may not cause this, but with enough caffeine and other acid stimulating compounds, coffee can lead to heartburn or acid reflux.

Our esophagus which is a long tube connecting our throat to our stomach, functions to prevent stomach acid from going back up.

Coffee relaxes our lower esophageal sphincter. This is the bundle of muscles at the end of the esophagus and opening of the stomach, which prevents the stomach’s contents from traveling back out.

As a result, this allows stomach acid to travel back up to the esophagus, causing irritation and heartburn.

Stomach Ulcers

If gastritis is not treated and becomes severe enough, it can lead to stomach ulcers. Ulcers are holes in the stomach’s lining and not only cause pain but also lead to internal bleeding.

Another negative thing coffee does to the stomach is it weakens our stomach’s mucosal layer. This is the layering that protects it. When this happens, it increases the risk of ulcers as well as damage.

Coffee has a Laxative Effect

restroom signThis laxative effect doesn’t affect everyone. Around 30% to 40% of people in the U.S. say coffee has this effect on them.

The good news is regular coffee drinkers often build up a tolerance over time. So if you really like your coffee, the stay on it. One day, it won’t cause you to run to the bathroom anymore.

That said, researchers know that the acidic effects of coffee speeds up the digestion process in our colon.

This quickens the speed at which the contents are discarded from our bodies.

Coffee is a Diuretic

This only affects heavy coffee drinkers. It’s the caffeine.

Caffeine is a diuretic. So consuming enough caffeine results in having to pee more.

Because coffee doesn’t contain a huge amount of caffeine, you’ll need to drink a bit of it before experiencing its diuretic effects.

For those how drink a lot of coffee daily, make sure you stay hydrated by drinking enough water. This helps prevent dehydration which has its own bad effects.

It Increases Your Stress Levels

coffee beansOne of the reasons you drink coffee is for its pick-me-up effect. That kick from the caffeine helps you wake up or focus better when you’re tired.

While it works well as a short term stimulant, coffee has lingering long term effects.

For some people, the effects present themselves even in the short term.

The caffeine in coffee is what provides the kick. It affect our body’s hormone production, specifically cortisol which is a stress hormone. Cortisol allows us to feel that burst of energy to deal with emergencies. This is why a cup of coffee can make you feel alert and focused.

However, cortisol also increases our stress levels. Which in the long term isn’t good.

Worsens Gastrointestinal Issues

If you suffer from intestinal disorders, coffee can aggravate the symptoms. The additional stomach acidity can make symptoms worse or cause additional problems.


Final Thoughts

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world for good reason. It smells great, tastes great and comes in tons of flavors and varieties. It also helps give us a kick when we need it.

That said, coffee does have its effects on our tummy. For this reason, moderate consumption is key. Drinking too much can lead to the symptoms above which aren’t pleasant.


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