Caffeine, Decaf and Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD)
What is Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD)?
Gastroesophageal Reflux, or GERD, is a digestive disorder that occurs when acidic stomach juices, or food and fluids back up from the stomach into the esophagus, which can affect people of all age and can be more prevalent for people with asthma.
Does caffeinated coffee and decaffeinated coffee affect Gastroesophageal Reflux?
There has been some research on this as published in Aliment Pharmacol Therapy papers in 1994 by Wendl, Pfeiffer, Pehl, Schmidt and Kaess.
Their central premise was:
- Coffee and tea are believed to cause gastro-oesophageal reflux, but the effects of these beverages and of their major component, caffeine, have not been quantified.
- So, the aim of this study was to evaluate gastro-oesophageal reflux induced by coffee and tea before and after a decaffeination process, then to compare it with water and water-containing caffeine.
How did they investigate?
The study went as follows:
- Three-hour ambulatory pH-metry was performed on 16 healthy volunteers, who received 300 ml of:
- Regular coffee, decaffeinated coffee or tap water
- Normal tea, decaffeinated tea, tap water, or coffee adapted to normal tea in caffeine concentration
- Caffeine-free and caffeine-containing water (n = 8) together with a standardized breakfast.
What was the results of the study?
- Regular coffee induced a significant gastro-oesophageal reflux compared with tap water and normal tea, which were not different from each other.
- Decaffeination of coffee significantly diminished gastro-oesophageal reflux, whereas decaffeination of tea or addition of caffeine to water had no effect.
- Coffee adapted to normal tea in caffeine concentration significantly increased gastro-oesophageal reflux.
So what were the conclusions?
- Caffeinated coffee, in contrast to tea, increases gastro-oesophageal reflux.
- The reflux effect was much less pronounced after decaffeination.
- In some cases, decaffeinated coffee might help reduce the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux.
IMPORTANT: This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. Nothing in the content or products should be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always talk to your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs.