Benefits of coffee: Greater motility and antimicrobial?

There are numerous benefits of coffee consumption. Coffee contains many polyphenols as well as caffeine. But some people just don’t tolerate caffeine all that well. Fortunately for those folks, results of a study presented earlier this years show caffeine isn’t necessary for the benefits of coffee.

The research was presented at Digestive Disease Week 2019. It showed that coffee, both caffeinated and decaffeinated, caused greater motility in the small intestine and colon of rats. It also decreased bacterial numbers as well. But we don’t know if this is for better or worse, though.

We all know that caffeine is a stimulant. So most assumed that the stimulating effects of caffeine were at play. This research indicates that some other component of coffee is behind the pro-motility effect.

Coffee stimulated motility after 3 days of consumption in live rats. But what caused this increase in motility?

Benefits of coffee

Benefits of coffee: Is the gallbladder involved?

A study back in 1990 found that both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee cause gallbladder contraction in men. Both groups also saw increases in cholecystokinin(CCK), which causes the release of pancreatic enzymes and bile. It also increases bile production and delays gastric emptying.

CCK is released from the gut when we consume foods high in protein or fat. On the one hand, CCK is a signal to ramp up the digestive process in the duodenum. It’s also responsible for the feeling of fullness we experience when consuming these foods.

But CCK has another cool effect: it promotes sleep. CCK may be responsible for the drowsiness we experience after a high fat/high protein meal. So, it seems that even decaffeinated coffee is a digestive aid. And even cooler, CCK can promote sleep. So, decaffeinated coffee with your dinner could improve digestion AND promote sleep.


Many people enjoy coffee, but caffeinated coffee can be too stimulating for some people. Even in people who enjoy the high of coffee, consuming it late at night can interfere with their sleep.

Many people attribute the increased gut motility from coffee to the caffeine. Results of a study presented earlier this year showed that the pro-motility effects of coffee are not from caffeine. Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee promotes gut motility in rats.

Both forms of coffee stimulate the release of cholecystokinin(CCK), a hormone secreted from the gut when we eat protein/fat. CCK stimulates multiple steps in the digestive process, increases fullness, and promotes sleep.

Therefore, coffee may be useful for stimulating digestion and promoting sleep. If you are sensitive to caffeine, decaffeinated coffee provides similar benefits without the caffeine high and sleep disruption.

2 thoughts on “Benefits of coffee: Greater motility and antimicrobial?

  1. Julio says:

    If it were that easy. Coffee and caffeine affect iron absorption. Coffee hat acrylamide and glycotoxins. 🙁

    • cincodm says:

      In the grand scheme of things I think that is a minor concern. Coffee has little effect on heme iron absorption, the polyphenols have an effect on non-heme iron absorption. Organ meats and shellfish can largely make up for this, as can consuming more foods high in vitamin C.

      I also feel that people get bogged down in the minutiae of diet. All foods have good and bad things in them. Focusing on every little minor stressor in food would have you eat nothing. If these were major concerns there would be an inverse relationship between coffee consumption and longevity, but it’s actually the opposite. I don’t take this to necessarily mean that you’ll live longer consuming coffee, but I certainly think it’s a strong indicator that drinking coffee won’t decrease your healthspan/lifespan.

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