Does drinking coffee help prevent IBS? Study provides insights

Evan Walker
Evan Walker TheMediTary.Com |
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  • Drinking coffee may help protect against the development of irritable bowel syndrome or relieve its symptoms for some people, according to a new meta-analysis.
  • The meta-analysis included data from 432,022 participants across eight studies.
  • In five of them, coffee was protective against the condition, while three suggested the opposite.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome affects women more frequently than men.

A recent meta-analysis examining data from several studies of the same subject to determine overall trends found that consuming coffee may help prevent and relieve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The meta-analysis hopes to make sense of conflicting reports, and, indeed, it suggests that coffee’s protection against IBS may not apply to everyone.

According to the meta-analysis, coffee drinkers are 16% less likely to develop IBS than people who do not drink coffee. This applies to people who drink any amount of coffee regularly.

The analysis was based on eight studies that met the researchers’ standards for analysis, selected from an initial group of 187 studies identified in the EMBASE, PubMed, and the Cochrane Library databases up to March 31, 2023.

To qualify, the studies had to be randomized, controlled studies, or cross-sectional studies that focused on the correlation between coffee drinking and IBS. They also had to be in English.

The final eight studies included 432,022 individuals.

The meta-analysis posits that the contradictory findings of previous studies may have to do with coffee’s complexity. It contains over a hundred compounds, which can vary considerably based on their source, how they were roasted, types of ground, and their method of preparation. These details are not always delineated in studies.

Many of the studies also relied on self-reporting questionnaires regarding both coffee and IBS, and that this could cause misclassification and confounding issues.

The meta-analysis appears in the journal Nutrients.

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