Why Coffee Really Makes You Poo?

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

Hot Coffee In A White Cup, Coffee Beans, Table, Poo

Are you a coffee lover? Today we are talking about it and poo.

Question: When do you go #2 (poo)?

  1. First thing every morning?
  2. Every couple days?
  3. After every meal?
  4. Randomly! Several times per day…or none at all.
  5. Only after coffee?

If you’re like many of my clients, answer #5 is common.

1 in 3 People Need Coffee to Poo

In fact, according to one study on the topic, it makes about 30 percent of the population (1 in 3 people) need to poop soon after drinking! 

Why Does Coffee Make You Poop?

Scientists believe coffee makes people poo has to do with its laxative like properties.

Woman Holding Cup Of Coffee, Poo

For one, exorphins (hormone-like chemicals) in it bind to opiate receptors to slow down or speed up your gut.

Two naturally occurring chemicals in this popular hot drink (gastrin and cholecystokinin) are also directed to the brain and colon, stimulating muscle contractions in the lower colon, and promoting bowel movements in the 20 minutes after it is consumed.

Lastly, it is high in magnesium, which can also make people poop.

But other factors may also be at play…

Coffee Poo=Poor Gut Health

Beyond its laxative like properties, if you can only go #2 after you’ve had your coffee,it may also be a sign that you have an unhealthy gut microbiome.

In short: Your digestive system should be able to function without coffee.

If this is not the case, here are 3 reasons why coffee affects your gut health and poo patterns:

3 Reasons Coffee Affects Your Gut Health & Poo

#1. Food Sensitivities & Food Intolerances

Food sensitivities and intolerances to other components in coffee (i.e. artificial sweeteners, cream, or milk) can trigger defecation in those who are sensitive to them. Additionally, coffee is the most cross-contaminating food source with gluten—a common intolerance in Western culture.

#2. Mycotoxins in Coffee

Mycotoxins are the toxic chemicals that mold produces (commonly grown in coffee bean crops). Myctoxins are the cause of many health conditions and symptoms, including cancer, dopamine depletion, brain fog, cell death in the brain, histamine and allergy symptoms.

Aflatoxin B1 and Ochratoxin A – are the most common mycotoxins of particular concern when it comes to coffee.

  • One study found 26 percent of coffees have mycotoxins.
  • Another study found 45 percent of coffees sampled contained mycotoxins.
  • And lastly, this study found 33 percent of coffees sampled had Ochratoxin A.

Toxic burden increases toxic load on the digestive system—triggering abnormal poo patterns and impairing normal digestion. 

#3. Feeding Pathogenic Bacteria

Our gut bugs often crave foods we are intolerant to. Certain gut bugs send signals to your brain to “feed us”—especially with those foods we have to have every day. If you find you are going #2 every time you drink coffee…then you may actually be feeding some pathogenic gut bacteria fuel they love.

If you can’t go #2 without coffee, then it may be a sign something else is going on “under the hood.”

Check out the 28 Day Gut Kickstart to begin building a foundation for a healthy gut microbiome.

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