Coffee And Leaky Gut – The Good & Bad Sides For Your Gut

 by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.

SuperHumans are the toughest, fittest, healthiest and happiest human beings on this planet. My mission is to help you realize your superhuman potential and learn how to live a long, happy and healthy life.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’m a content organizer, fact-checker and super mom who ensures content is medically-reviewed, highly accurate, and engaging. My passion is organizing information and ensuring the facts are presented in a manner that is interesting and easy to understand.

Coffee And Leaky Gut

Most of us cannot get enough coffee – or so it seems. Coffee is popular, ubiquitous, and can be purchased at almost any grocery or convenience store. It is a rush for many because it provides energy.

On the other hand, coffee contains caffeine, which is a known irritant that can also cause inflammation. If you drink too much coffee, then you could end up with digestive problems from too much caffeine in your diet.

Because of these good and bad sides to coffee, there are ongoing discussions around the relationship between coffee and leaky gut.

Coffee and Leaky Gut Connection – Does Coffee Harm or Help Your Gut?

Coffee is a staple of many people’s daily routine. It can be enjoyed hot or cold, with milk or without, and in many different flavors. In fact, coffee is second only to water in terms of the number of cups consumed each day by Americans.

Leaky gut syndrome, on another note, is an umbrella term that describes intestinal pathology involving increased intestinal permeability. Living in a high-stress, toxic environment can create the conditions for leaky gut to develop.

Some of the things that can contribute to leaky gut are caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar and other processed foods, medications such as birth control pills and antibiotics. But does coffee cause leaky gut?

Let’s take a look at both the benefits and the downside of drinking coffee.

The 6 Health Benefits Of Coffee 

Coffee has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including reducing risk of type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

It may also help protect against cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Coffee also contains antioxidants that can protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals, which can lead to premature aging and chronic diseases like heart disease or cancer.

Here are 6 health benefits of coffee in detail.

1. Improving brain function.

Caffeine is a stimulant that can improve mental performance, especially for those who don’t usually drink coffee. Studies show that it helps with memory and concentration, as well as reaction time, decision making and problem solving skills.

drinking coffee

2. Reducing depression.

Coffee has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression by increasing levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain—two chemicals involved in regulating mood and emotion.

3. Source of antioxidants.

Coffee contains antioxidants called polyphenols that help prevent damage from free radicals produced by our bodies over time (such as from smoking). These free radicals cause cell damage which can lead to cancer development over time! So if you’re looking for a way to slow down aging and fight cancer then drinking more coffee might just be the answer.

4. Reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Coffee has been shown to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Coffee drinkers have a lower risk for developing Parkinson’s disease, which is also a neurodegenerative condition. It is thought that these benefits are due to caffeine’s ability to reduce inflammation in the brain and protect against oxidative stress.

5. Lowering the risk of Diabetes Type 2.

Research shows that drinking four cups per day can reduce your risk for diabetes type 2 by 17%. The antioxidant activity of polyphenols in coffee may be responsible for this effect as well as their ability to inhibit glucose absorption from food into your bloodstream after meals.

6. Lowering the risk of various cancers.

One area where there is agreement among researchers is in the potential benefits of coffee consumption in protecting against cancer. A recent study published by the American Cancer Society found that drinking three or more cups of coffee per day was associated with a reduced risk of death from all causes when compared to those who drank no coffee at all.

The Downside Of Consuming Too Much Coffee

Although all these benefits sound great, there are some downsides to drinking coffee too much—and they’re not just limited to teeth stains:

cup of coffee

1. Anxiety, insomnia, or fatigue. 

The most common negative effects of coffee are anxiety, insomnia, and fatigue. If you drink too much coffee on a regular basis, your body may become dependent on it to function properly. If you stop drinking coffee suddenly, these symptoms can occur:

  • Anxiety – You may feel nervous or jittery
  • Insomnia – You may have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep
  • Fatigue – You may feel tired all day long

2. Addictive effect and withdrawal symptoms. 

If you drink too much coffee, you may quit “cold turkey”. Caffeine withdrawal can cause headaches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

3. Adrenal fatigue. 

Adrenal fatigue is another concern for coffee drinkers—it’s caused by the stress on your body from constantly raising and lowering your cortisol levels (the stress hormone). This can lead to low energy levels and chronic fatigue.

4. Can inflame autoimmune disease. 

Over time, the caffeine in coffee can cause your body to become inflamed and release inflammatory cytokines into your bloodstream. This can lead to an autoimmune diseases.

5. Can have a laxative effect. 

This means that your body will be encouraged to purge itself of the caffeine, which can cause diarrhea and pain in the stomach.

6. Can increase belly fat. 

Coffee is an acidic drink and the body needs alkaline foods to neutralize this acidity. When your body is overwhelmed with acidic foods and drinks, your body tries to find ways to neutralize the acidity.

One way it does this is by storing fats in the cells of your body. This is why many people who drink too much coffee develop a belly fat or get heartburn after drinking too much coffee.

7. Imbalance of gut bacteria. 

Drinking too much coffee can have negative effects on the gut. Coffee is a diuretic and can dehydrate you, which will lead to bad bacteria growing in your gut. This can lead to bloating, constipation and diarrhea.

Coffee and Leaky Gut – How Does Coffee Affect The Leaky Gut

Coffee is a beverage that has been around for centuries. It has many different benefits and health effects, but one of the most common effects is on the digestive system.

having a coffee

Coffee can cause an increase in stomach acid, which leads to heartburn and acid reflux symptoms in some people. It can also irritate the lining of the intestines and cause diarrhea or constipation depending on how much you drink each day.

Is coffee bad for leaky gut? Coffee is one thing that could contribute to leaky gut syndrome if consumed regularly in excess. There are three main reasons why coffee may cause problems for people with leaky gut:

  1. It contains caffeine, which can be irritating to the stomach lining.
  1. It contains tannins that bind with nutrients like iron and zinc in your digestive tract making it difficult for them to be absorbed properly into the bloodstream, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies.
  1. It increases intestinal permeability through a process called “redox signaling.” This means that coffee causes certain proteins in our bodies called

5 Ways To Make Coffee More Gut-Friendly

You can most certainly include coffee in your list of gut-healing drinks, just take note of the following tips on how to make your cup of java more gut-friendly:

#1 – Try Decaf (Or Half-Decaf) Coffee.

If you’re looking for ways to make your coffee more gut-friendly, try decaf (or half-decaf) coffee instead of regular coffee. In addition to reducing the amount of caffeine in your diet, decaffeinated coffee also contains fewer acids than regular coffee and therefore may be easier on your stomach.

#2 – Avoid Putting Sugar or Artificial Sweeteners.

If you load up on the sugar or artificial sweeteners that are often added to coffee drinks, you’ll do more harm than good.

Those added ingredients can cause inflammation in your gut cells, and they may also feed pathogens like candida yeast that thrive on sugar. This can lead to further damage in your intestinal lining—the very thing you’re trying to repair.

#3 – Look For “Low Acid”  Coffee Labels.

Coffee can be one of the most acidic foods on the planet. This means that if you have a leaky gut, coffee can wreak havoc on your digestive tract. If you’re looking to enjoy a cup of coffee without any digestive issues, look for “low acid” labels to make sure the coffee is mild enough for your body to handle.

pouring milk into coffee

#4 – Switch to Lactose-Free Milk for Your Coffee.

Lactose, a type of sugar found in milk, is difficult for many people to digest—and it can cause problems like bloating, gas and diarrhea. So if you’re sensitive to dairy, try switching over to lactose-free milk or non-dairy alternatives like almond or coconut milk.

#5 – Try Cold-Brewed Coffee

The main reason why cold-brewed coffee is more gut-friendly than hot coffee is because it has less acidity. Hot coffee is high in acidity and can irritate your stomach lining and cause digestive issues such as heartburn, bloating, and abdominal pain.

Brewing Behind the Scenes:

Does Coffee Cause Gut Inflammation?

While coffee is a popular drink enjoyed by many, it is also a highly inflammatory substance that can cause gut inflammation if consumed in excess. Coffee contains compounds called diterpenes that act as phytochemicals.

These compounds are anti-inflammatory, but they can cause an increase in oxidative stress if consumed in excess. This increase in oxidative stress can cause the body to produce more pro-inflammatory cytokines, which can lead to gut inflammation and other inflammatory diseases like Crohn’s disease or fibromyalgia.

Is Coffee Good for Gut Bacteria?

Coffee is a great source of antioxidants, which are excellent for the gut. Coffee also stimulates bile production, which helps to break down fats and cholesterol in the body. It also contains chlorogenic acid, which has been shown to prevent leaky gut by inhibiting inflammation.

Is Coffee Ruining My Gut?

Coffee can be a powerful antioxidant, but it is also a diuretic. The caffeine in the drink can cause you to lose water and electrolytes, which can affect your gut health. Additionally, coffee often has added sugar or other sweeteners that can worsen your leaky gut condition.

Does Coffee Cause Leaky Gut?

Studies show a direct correlation between caffeine and leaky gut.

When you consume large amounts of caffeine, it can increase your risk of developing leaky gut syndrome by causing certain proteins in your intestines to move around more than they normally would when they’re not exposed to caffeine or other stimulants like nicotine or alcohol, which also cause leaky gut.

Is Decaf Coffee Ok for Leaky Gut?

YES. Decaf coffee is alright for leaky gut, because it contains very little caffeine, which is the component that causes the issues with leaky gut.

Does Coffee Help Leaky Gut?

YES. Coffee contains caffeine, which is an antioxidant that can help prevent leaky gut. It also has chlorogenic acid, which may help reduce inflammation and lower blood sugar levels. Again, take coffee in moderate amounts to maintain these benefits.

Does Coffee Destroy Gut Flora?

NO. It isn’t true that coffee destroys gut flora. It is the excessive consumption of coffee that does. The key is to consume in moderation.

Does Caffeine Worsen Leaky Gut?

YES. Caffeine worsens leaky gut, but ONLY if taken in excessive amounts.

Does Caffeine Affect the Intestinal Lining?

NO. Coffee does not directly affect the intestinal lining. However, coffee can aggravate some digestive issues when taken in excessive quantities. It also increases gastric acid secretion, which can lead to inflammation of the digestive tract.

Can Coffee Trigger Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

YES. If you have IBS, you may find that coffee makes your symptoms worse. This is because coffee contains caffeine, which is a stimulant. Many people with IBS have symptoms like diarrhea or constipation that are made worse by stimulants like caffeine.


There are both positive and negative effects of coffee on the gut. More research is still needed to determine whether coffee consumption has long-term effects on the gut’s health. But, until then, these are a few things you can do to minimize its negative effects on your digestive tract.

Even a small imbalance in gut flora can lead to big problems. Gut health needs a lot of TLC, which is why it’s important to start taking care of your gut today.

Many people use gut supplements such as Optima, which I highly recommend, to improve their gut health. The billions of helpful bacteria found in Optima’s unique formula will ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need to help support your body.

For most of us, caffeine intake is a personal decision and is something we’re capable of self-regulating. Going forward, keep in mind that every individual differs, and pay close attention to how your body responds to whatever you feed it.

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