Overview

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The gastrointestinal tract runs from the mouth through to the large intestine and anus, encompassing associated organs that are involved with the process of digestion such as the gallbladder and pancreas38.

Research into the gastrointestinal conditions dyspepsia1-6, gastro oesophageal reflux disease3,7-14, peptic ulcers15,16, and gastritis17 has suggested that coffee is not associated with the development of these disorders. Research has also suggested that coffee consumption does not worsen symptoms in those who suffer these conditions1,3,9,12, when confounding factors such as BMI and smoking status were controlled for12.

In the small intestine, studies suggest that coffee consumption does not increase the risk of duodenal ulcers16,20 and has no effect on fluid balance in this location39. Research has also suggested that there is no association between coffee consumption and disorders of the large intestine, such as diarrhoea23, or irritable bowel syndrome1,24.

Research on organs associated with the gastro intestinal tract suggests that coffee consumption is associated with a reduced risk of gallbladder disease29-30, and with lower incidence and rates of progression of liver disease40.

In relation to cancers throughout the GI tract, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in its 2016 report concluded that there is inadequate research to suggest any link between coffee consumption and cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, stomach, oesophagus, or colorectum18. Data reviewed by IARC also suggested that there is no association between coffee consumption and increased risk of cancer of the pancreas18. IARC’s review also suggested that coffee drinking is associated with a reduced occurrence of cancer of the liver18.

The content in this Overview was last edited in May 2017. Papers in the Latest Research section and further resources are added regularly.

This information is intended for Healthcare professional audiences.
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