Coffee Enema Research

May 12, 2014 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

A few weeks ago, I was listening to Dr. Wayne Dyer’s popular podcast on Hayhouse Radio. For the most part, Dr. Dyer’s programs feature content relating to psychological and spiritual matters. However, from time to time, he shares insights into his personal health care journey. On this particular occasion he revealed that he was enthusiastic about a time honored, natural therapy which supposedly cleanses and detoxifies the liver – coffee enemas. This is by no means a new concept in the field of holistic healing. That said, it has remained quite popular throughout the past several decades much to the scorn of the conventional medical establishment.

Perhaps the most common and controversial use of coffee enemas is in patients with cancer. One example is the Gerson regimen, a cancer protocol developed by Dr. Max Gerson involving the use of a strict diet, coffee enemas, dietary supplements and juicing. According to a 2010 review in the journal Oncology, “coffee enemas are believed to cause dilation of bile ducts and excretion of toxic breakdown products by the liver through the colon wall”. While widely believed and restated, there isn’t much scientific evidence to support this assertion. Certainly, there are many anecdotal accounts of cancer remission by individuals using the Gerson regimen. The problem is that scientific evidence is lacking for a few reasons. The first is that the Gerson approach involves many therapeutic components. Therefore, isolating the specific effects of any given strategy is difficult to do. Also, peer-reviewed analysis of the Gerson regimen has yet to yield verifiable proof that it actually prolongs survival time.

As it turns out, the scant data on the efficacy and safety of coffee enemas comes to us courtesy of researchers in Thailand. Presently, there are two studies in print. One reports that caffeine absorption from a single coffee enema is about 3.5 times less than a single cup of coffee taken by mouth. A second trial examined the antioxidant effects of six coffee enemas administered over a two week period. No beneficial changes in oxidant status (glutathione or GSH, malondialdehyde or MDA and trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity or TEAC) were noted. Lastly, a German study is currently underway which compares the constipation relieving activity of coffee enemas vs. oral coffee. The results from the latter trial are due for publication in the coming months.

My personal stance on coffee enemas is that more scientific research is clearly required. Simply put, we need to better understand its safety profile as some cases of harm have been documented in the medical literature. In addition, like it or not, this is a therapy that is being used by many people with serious medical conditions, sometimes at the expense of other modalities. And, frankly, there is at least some rationale to conducting studies on coffee enemas. For instance, we now understand that coffee consumption appears to reduce the risk of various forms of cancer and liver disease. This doesn’t necessarily equate to coffee being a viable adjunct or remedy for cancer and liver disease, but it’s worth investigating.

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 - Oncology Journal (Williston Park): Gerson Regimen (link)

Study 2 - Unproved Dietary Claims in the Treatment of Patients with Cancer (link)

Study 3 – Pharmacokinetics of Caffeine Following a Single Administration of (link)

Study 4 - Antioxidant Effects After Coffee Enema or Oral Coffee Consumption in (link)

Study 5 – Clinical Trial: Coffee Against Obstipation in Intensive Care Treatment (link)

Study 6 - Proctocolitis Caused by Coffee Enemas (link)

Study 7 - Rectal Perforation Due to Benign Stricture Caused by Rectal Burns (link)

Study 8 – Coffee and Cancer Risk, Epidemiological Evidence and Molecular (link)

Study 9 - Is It Time to Write a Prescription for Coffee? Coffee and Liver Disease (link)

Study 10 - Roles of Chlorogenic Acid on Regulating Glucose & Lipids Metabolism (link)

Coffee Acts As An Antioxidant and Prebiotic

Source: Food Funct., 2012,3, 916-922 (link)

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Detoxification, Food and Drink

2 Comments to “Coffee Enema Research”

  1. JP Says:

    A new way to enjoy coffee: high fiber coffee flour:

    Be well!


  2. JP Says:

    Update: Coffee enemas may prove to be a valuable adjunct for endoscopy cleansing …

    Clin Nutr Res. 2014 Jul;3(2):134-41.

    Coffee enema for preparation for small bowel video capsule endoscopy: a pilot study.

    Coffee enemas are believed to cause dilatation of bile ducts and excretion of bile through the colon wall. Proponents of coffee enemas claim that the cafestol palmitate in coffee enhances the activity of glutathione S-transferase, an enzyme that stimulates bile excretion. During video capsule endoscopy (VCE), excreted bile is one of the causes of poor preparation of the small bowel. This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility and effect of coffee enema for preparation of the small bowel during VCE. In this pilot study, 17 of 34 patients were assigned to the coffee enema plus polyethylene glycol (PEG) 2 L ingestion group, whereas the 17 remaining control patients received 2 L of PEG only. The quality of bowel preparation was evaluated in the two patient groups. Bowel preparations in the proximal segments of small bowel were not differ between two groups. In the mid and distal segments of the small intestine, bowel preparations tend to be better in patients who received coffee enemas plus PEG than in patients who received PEG only. The coffee enema group did not experience any complications or side effects. Coffee enemas may be a feasible option, and there were no clinically significant adverse events related to coffee enemas. More prospective randomized studies are warranted to improve small bowel preparation for VCE.

    Be well!


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