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Last stop on the number two metro

As I scoured the interwebs last week for memes, I noticed that there were quite a few inferring that a cup of joe makes you go.


At first I was surprised, but as I joked about it over the weekend I learned that a couple of my friends find this to hold true. Being the good friend I am, I told them they were doing it wrong, but my curiousity got the best of me, and I felt the need to look into it.

With the power of technology at my finger tips I set forth to investigate. Apparently about a third of the population report some increased activity after downing their morning brew, and strangely enough, the numbers are only slightly less when imbibing decaf.

In a paper by Brown and Cann (I know, really) 60 men and 60 women were given questionnaires regarding their bowel habits and 14 healthy individuals agreed to be further probed on the subject. After as little as four minutes, there was a noticeable increase in rectosigmoid motility in eight of the subjects.

There's my SAT word of the day; rectosigmoid.

As decaf had a similar effect, it had to be something else in the coffee that was working it's magic. Apparently coffee has been shown to promote release of Gastrin, which can increase colonic spike and motor activity. Another possibility is that the colonic response to coffee could be mediated by exorphines. Both regular and decaffeinated coffee both contain exorphines that can bind to opiate receptors. Opiate receptors, both in the brain and within the gut wall, mediate important effects on colonic motility.

It seems the desire to poop after drinking coffee is the result of various hormonal and neural mechanisms. No big surprise there. I guess I can stop calling my friend Lee crazy.

The more you know.

It looks like another brisk weekend in the Twin Cities are in store, and as such I feel the need to make sure I have coffee at home to make it through until Monday. No big surprise there.

Soon, it will be time to dust off the Toddy, but until then, I'll cuddle up with my Chemex.



Author: Dave Turner

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