Coffee and disorders of other intestinal organs
The gallbladder stores bile, a fluid which is released into the small intestine where it emulsifies fats and assists their digestion. Gallstones are deposits that form in the gallbladder and in a minority of cases trigger severe abdominal pain (symptomatic gallstones) which can cause the gallbladder to become inflamed and lead to gallbladder disease.
- Two major prospective cohort studies consistently show an inverse association between coffee consumption and the risk of symptomatic gallstones26,27. Other studies suggest that the effect of coffee may vary depending on the progression of the gallbladder disease28.
Coffee and caffeine appear to trigger the contraction of the gallbladder and may prevent small crystals becoming large gallstones early in the disease29. However, if large gallstones are already present, such contraction of the gallbladder may cause pain. There is some evidence to suggest that coffee exerts its effect through caffeine, but further studies are required to confirm this hypothesis26-29.
Further detailed information is available in the Gallstones section of the Coffee and Health website here.
Studies looking at the relationship between coffee consumption and risk of liver cancer suggest an inverse association.
- Epidemiological research suggests that moderate coffee consumption may help to reduce the risk of liver cancer, and the risk falls as coffee consumption rises31,41,42.
- In its 2016 review, IARC concluded there is a consistent and statistically significant inverse association between coffee consumption and liver cancer31.
- Further epidemiological studies in patients with other liver diseases have all found a positive effect of moderate coffee drinking on limiting disease progression30.
Further detailed information is available in the Liver section of the Coffee and Health website here.
The pancreas serves multiple roles in both the digestive and endocrine systems. Pancreatic juice secreted from the pancreas contains enzymes that contribute to the breakdown of fats, carbohydrates and proteins in the GI tract.
- IARC concluded that coffee consumption is not linked to a higher risk of pancreatic cancer31. The World Cancer Research Fund also reviewed over 50 studies and found no increase in risk of developing pancreatic cancer with coffee consumption43.
- Further studies have also confirmed the absence of a relationship, and some studies suggest that regular coffee drinking is associated with a lower risk of pancreatic cancer44-47.
Further detailed information is available in the Cancer section of the Coffee and Health website here.
This information is intended for Healthcare professional audiences.
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