Coffee and disorders of the small intestine

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Duodenal ulcers

The duodenum is the first part of the intestine after the stomach and, as such, is regularly exposed to stomach acid, as the contents of the stomach passes into the duodenum to continue the process of digestion. The wall of the duodenum is protected from stomach acid by a mucus covering, however infection or use of certain drugs, including painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, can disrupt the production of mucus.

Currently, available research shows no relationship between coffee consumption and the development of duodenal ulcers11,18,19,20.

  • A large prospective cohort study of 47,806 American men assessed the relationship between caffeine, alcohol and smoking on the risk of developing duodenal ulcers19. None of these factors were found to be associated with a substantial increase in risk.
  • A further 2013 cross-sectional study of 8,013 healthy subjects in Japan also showed no association between coffee intake and duodenal ulcers18.
  • An additional study shows no difference in the daily pattern of coffee intake, or the pattern of complaints after drinking coffee between those with duodenal ulcers and controls20.

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