The latest episode of Reactions, a series from the American Chemical Society, addresses the age-old question: Why does coffee make you poop?
We’ve tackled this question here on io9 before. As we noted then, the short answer is that coffee stimulates muscle contractions along the terminal portion of your large intestine, a stretch of guts called the rectosigmoid colon. What’s less clear is how coffee stimulates these contractions. In this video, the ACS gets into some of the chemistry that is hypothesized to trigger these effects, specifically coffee’s ability to promote the release of Gastrin and Cholecystokinin, both of which have been shown to increase activity in the colon. For more details on these and other coffee ingredients that may regulate pooping, check out our explainer on the topic, which also covers one of the earliest studies to investigate the link between coffee and colon contractions (it even involves anal probes!).
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