Recent study suggests coffee may be the best treatment for anxiety

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition affecting more than 10 per cent of adults. The condition is characterized by a sharp increase in abdominal pain and frequent withdrawals from stool. Current diagnostics and treatments suffer from inaccuracies and sometimes fail to meet clinical needs. Various large-scale trials focused on different treatment regimens are underway. Lactation could be one such intervention. Although lactation was originally reported as a protective factor against various types of tumours recent global research has uncovered larger differences in how lactation affects physiology and metabolism of the human body including types of IBS. Using data from the IBS Impact Research Unit at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health researchers at Harvard Kennedy School of Public Health-including Sung Hae Song postdoctoral fellow and co-author on the paper-show that caffeine a naturally occurring compound found in tea was as effective in reducing gut permeability in experimental models of intestinal inflammation as paracetamol a common over-the-counter painkiller used in hospital analgesia.

According to the World Health Organization around 25 million adults in the world suffer from IBS which may be associated with an impaired physical and cognitive function. Symptoms such as abdominal pain cramping frequent bleeding and intestinal discomfort may develop gradually and may last for several years.

In a recent study published in Nature Neuroscience Song and her colleagues found a correlation between decreased gut permeability and caffeine consumption in experimental models of IBS. Looking at caffeines effect on intestinal permeability indicates a new way to prevent IBS from progressing even in the presence of opioids.

Molecular and cellular mechanisms between coffee and gut permeability.

The research team analyzed caffeine consumption and its impact on intestinal permeability in vitro. When the researchers administered caffeine to 16 experimental models with impaired gut permeability average body surface area decreased by 15 per cent. The greatest decreases in intestinal permeability were seen in models with increased consumption of coffee. However caffeines effects on gut permeability were individualised based on consumption of tea with the major decrease in fast-twitch and slow-muscle unit activity occurring within the first hour after caffeine administration.

The increase in fast-twitch and slow-muscle unit activity during caffeine administration highlights the potential therapeutic value of the compound in facilitating gastrointestinal bypass said Song professor of biochemistry molecular and cellular biology and the director of the Harvard IBS Impact Research Unit. This suggests that the difference in effects may be specific to blends like coffee rather than regular daily consumption.