Pancreatitis and Coffee – IS Coffee Safe?

By | June 8, 2014
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pancreatitis-and-coffeeDo pancreatitis and coffee equal pain or other symptoms? Many pancreatitis victims believe that their pain is exasperated by coffee or the caffeine in coffee but is that true? My personal experience tells me it isn’t true. I have drank coffee PROFUSELY for the entire thirty plus (30 +) years I have been living with pancreatitis.

“Well, everyone is different” you say.


Is my pancreas really that much different than yours?

Probably not, at least not before damage was done to our pancreas.

WITHOUT prior damage from pancreatitis your pancreas is approximately six inches in length and so is mine. Your pancreas weighs about 80 grams and so does mine. Your pancreas produces digestive enzymes and hormones and so does mine so …

Damage is the only viable difference but that still doesn’t change the fact that there is no scientific evidence that coffee is a trigger.

I have mentioned in earlier posts that patients and doctors alike have erroneous beliefs when it comes to pancreatitis triggers, especially when it comes to diet or an immediate course of action to prevent damage from an episode of acute pancreatitis.

Coffee and Pancreatitis Work Well Together

Coffee and PancreatitisAgain, coffee is NOT a trigger in my experience, in fact there is scientific research that not only disputes coffee as a pancreatitis trigger but goes so far as to say coffee can prevent or reduce the risk of Pancreatitis.

The difference between what I share with you and what others may say is that I can almost ALWAYS back up my opinions and theories with scientific evidence that either suggests or proves I am or may be correct.

I can unequivocally state that I have NO intention of harming you or anyone with any information I may share about pancreatitis and IF I have even an inkling of apprehension I will tell you or not share my thoughts.

This disease or condition of ours is so volatile, one minute you are fine, the next you are sick, that it is difficult to correlate pancreatitis triggers to symptoms that may present due to something that has been ingested up to a week prior. It is absolutely erroneous to believe that ALL triggers create an immediate effect because they DO NOT!

What triggers an immediate response (within hours) one day may trigger a response the next time it is ingested 72 hours later and the patient and/or doctor will incorrectly believe that something that was eaten, on the day of pain, is the offending food or drink.

avoid beef, pork, lamb, duck, goose and high fat foods - SODIf you are eating red meat, pork, lamb, or any combination including any parts of either which are used in something that should be for all intents and purposes safe, such as smoked turkey sausage which is cased in pork intestines, and you MISS the part about pork casing (like I did) YOU WILL GET SICK! But …

It may NOT be an immediate response. My response to the smoked turkey cased in pork intestines took three days and I became ill eating BEANS and RICE! I KNEW beans and rice were NOT triggers so …

I dug out the turkey sausage container and re-read everything. That is when I found “Pork Casings” on the package. I knew then I had poisoned myself, unintentionally, and I was sicker than a dog for about three or four weeks!

acute-pancreatitis-painMy Acute Pancreatitis episode was caused by the pork casings NOT the beans and rice. That is why you need to be using a food diary to track what it is that actually is responsible for your episodes of pain and sickness.

By doing so I can guarantee you will find that a lot of what you believe to be true is in fact erroneous and if you wish to become pain free you can adjust your thinking, your diet, begin using the supplements I use and most likely, after time, begin to feel much better than you do right now. THAT should be your goal. OR …

You can simply reject what I am telling you and continue to suffer. It is ALL up to you. I can only lead you to the river (pain free living), I can not make you drink of the cool, healing waters! Just keep in mind I am pain free. I am NOT another sick person trying to lead another sick person which is EASY to find online.

Look in ANY support group.

I have even met a sick doctor who had no clue about how to heal her own pancreas. A doctor who was waiting with happy expectations towards her TP/AIT! A surgical procedure which in most cases can only be considered as a profit center for the surgeon, surgical team and hospital. Yet she was offering her expertise to others regarding their condition. Takes all kinds to make a world doesn’t it?

IF you are worried about the caffeine in coffee then use decaf.

Coffee Is Anti-inflammatory Because of Polyphenols

Coffee-beansCoffee is chalk-full of anti-inflammatory compounds called polyphenols. Polyphenols are highly effective antioxidants found in all fruits and vegetables.

The coffee bean itself is actually the seed found inside the coffee fruit or sometimes referred to as a stone fruit.

Seeds can be an awesome source of healing goodness. An absolute amazing example of this is grape seed which is FULL of polyphenol flavonoids called Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPCs).

Even though coffee beans may not be as full of polyphenols as grape seed and cocoa beans (yes chocolate is full of anti-inflammatory polyphenols) coffee is still one of the best sources on the American table for ingesting anti-inflammatory polyphenols so …

Consider being kind to you pancreas. Grab some coffee beans, grind those seeds to a nice, fine grind, put a stiff dose in your coffee machine (include water) and enjoy some excellent coffee today!


15 thoughts on “Pancreatitis and Coffee – IS Coffee Safe?

  1. Mari keaton

    I have herietary chronic pancreatitis, I am 55 years young and , after 30 some years it decides to start acting up , it forms stones that they go in and remove. Some times they have to leave a stint in to keep the duct open, the last time the duct was almost closed and wasn’t draining so again a stint for 6 weeks.Pain almost the whole time. They did a check for cancer and I was good there. I just don’t know what to do, They have me on 45000 units of enzymes, I have read your post and have went to your diet, but what do you cook things in ifnot using oils? I still need to get the money to get all the supplements. Any suggestions on any of this , so tired of all the pain. And the Dr only says well heat what ya want just stay around 30 gr of fat daily

    1. The Health Guy Post author

      Hi Mari – Hereditry pancreatitis is a challenge. I’m sorry you have had to deal with it for so long. No cancer is good! I cook without oil by simply using quality non-stick cookware. It works great. I’d focus (money wise) on diet, cookware and grape seed extract. IF I could afford only ONE supplement I’d choose grape seed extract. Your doctor is really close on the fat grams. They ARE learning! Stay at about 5grams per meal and 25-30 grams total fat daily. BUT where that fat comes from is also important. NO red meat, pork, duck, goose. No high fat stuff such as mayo, butter, egg yolk, nuts, peanut butter, avocado, coconut or lard (found in some breads and pastires). No oil of any kind no matter how healthy it’s suppose to be. All oil is nothing but fat. No alcohol. Think skinless chicken breast, white meat fish, fruit, legunes (peas, beans, lentils), whole grains (wheat, rice, oats) and plants (veggies). Spices are fine.

    2. Kristin m in Arizona Hi Shan.

      I’m not sure if Mari Keaton is still reading this blog (on this Earth, that is) but, I got a bottle of 180 capsules “Essential Digestive Enzymes” off Amazon and it was less than $20. I was taking them before I was diagnosed with C.P. Since I started them there have been no major attacks, when before taking it was almost nightly (I knew I was very ill but had no clue, I thought it was gallstones) but my clinician told me to stop all OTC enzymes and use only the prescription for Creon. Last checked it was 1200. a supply (one month? I think) my insurance carries the bulk but out of pocket copay is high: $45. Had I not taken any enzymes ever, I am convinced I would not be here typing right now. Plus, there have GOT to be some type of prescription funding helps some where, even your local community I’m sure has options or something for those who can not afford prescriptions- and just how much do you think your life is worth?? I’d would value mine quite a bit more than a mere 1,200 dollars…. wouldn’t you value yours, more??

  2. Robert Tuite

    Dear Health Guy, Let me start by saying I believe the information you share on your
    site is extremely beneficial to many of those following your blog. I’m also convinced that for some, the use of opiods is a required and compassionate
    method of managing the chronic pain associated with CP. Chronic pain untreated or mistreated can literally lead
    to deadly consequences for some. The use of opiods for many is simply sound medicine. The denial of opiods is an ethical violation of people’s fundamental human rights. Yet, day after day it is becoming harder and harder to gain access to the medications we need to have some semblance of a normal life. I’m just interested in what you and your followers are experiencing on a day to day basis when it comes to this topic. I for one, am beginning to live in fear of being denied the medication I need. I know of others who have already been denied adequate pain treatment at the ER or by their own physicians. The attitude that one should simply ‘suck it up and move on with your life, the pain won’t kill you’ which is now taking hold in the medical community and being supported and encouraged by government and health care industry providers and policy makers is just not true. There is real medical evidence that chronic pain can kill. Thanks for all that you do! I look forward
    hearing your thoughts on this important issue. I know your primary goal is to reduce suffering and not engage in controversy, so if you decide not to comment, I’ll understand.

    1. The Health Guy Post author

      Thanks for the kind words Robert. I agree with you. In some cases opiate usage is probably necessary. Praise God I have NOT been there like you have. You lost 80% of your pancreas and mine is still intact so comparing my situation to yours isn’t even feasible. In fact it would be stupid on my part.

      The ONLY opiate I have been given was meperidine (demerol) and frankly it did nothing. I had it injected and was also given a prescription after I was diagnosed (tablets). Whoa that is wrong. I was also given morphine and prostigmine to put me into an acute attack so my doc could diagnose what he thought was happening to me. Yeah! That was a “Dr. House” trick if I ever saw one. It’s called the Nardi test and used to be done to diagnose SOD because in patients with SOD it caused acute pancreatitis. The thing is my doc (who diagnosed me) never mentioned SOD. Heck I didn’t even know there was such a thing until a few years ago. Anyway, they don’t use that test anymore. BUT that is my experience with opiates. Not much and frankly not what I’d call good lol. However …

      Like I said earlier for those who suffer like I’m guessing you do and some other people that I know who have damage like yours I would imagine opiates may definitely have their place. So I can’t really engage intelligently with you in regards to opiate usage because I have very little experience. But I do know this …

      Chonic pain, especially the kind one would have after severe pancreas damage, advanced CP and other conditions like cancer would indicate there may, most certainly, be a need for opiates.

  3. Alex

    Hi health Guy,

    Let me first begin by saying thank you :). All The information you have on your website has been of tremendous help to me. I followed your suggestions religiously and manage to make the pain go away but not for ever. One thing I noticed I that as soon as I lack sleep the pain comes back instantly and I get what feels like chest pain and gas stuck in my chest in the left upper quadrant.
    I know that lack of sleep contributes to oxidative stress but I was wondering if you have ever felt the same thing? Like as soon as I sleep anything that less than 8 or 9h the pain shows up and my pancreas feel like its swells a bit. The same way it does when I used to eat fat but just less intense.

    Another thing that I noticed is that as soon as I drink coffee even after being pain free for 5 days and jucing, coffee does bring the pain back and my pancreas starts to swell and I mean I really do not eat a single gram of fat and avoid all alcohol sources (vinegar, sorbitol etc..). I read every lables and make sure my fruit have not began fermenting before eating them. If I keep drinking coffee once a day the pain continues to increases in increments until I really feel my pancreas swell. Coffee really does seem to really activate the enzymes in my pancreas and stay stuck.

    Regarding this I was wondering how long you waited after reintroducing coffee into your diet after being pain free?

    I am seriously starting to think that depending on where the damage was in the pancreas coud effect weather coffee can or cannot be tolerated by some of us.

    I think this mite be the only point where I mite not agree with you because I have really carefully monitored my body. I will try to go pain free for even longer and test it out again just to make even more sure.

    1. The Health Guy Post author

      Hi Alex – glad you like the info and you are most welcome. Thank you for the kind words 🙂 About the coffee – MOST everything I have read (scholar type stuff) indicates that coffee should in all likelyhood be good for the pancreas. It has zero fat, blah, blah blah. It doesn’t bother me and I drink a ton BUT here’s the thing …

      That does not mean it would never be a problem for anyone else. IF you have closely monitored your food intake (diary?), then Alex you have to avoid whatever is causing inflammation in your pancreas. I know that fat and alcohol are the major two enemies but caffiene may possibly cause problems in others like you. The caffiene could possibly be irritating. AND you asked me a good question which was “I was wondering how long you waited after reintroducing coffee into your diet after being pain free?” I don’t recall ever not drinking coffee. I started drinking coffee in the Marine Corps and I don’t think I ever quit.

      I had a lady not long ago swear up and down that cabbage caused her problems. Maybe it did. I find it highly unlikely but heck, who really knows what bothers who when it comes to the pancreas. THAT is exactly why doing a proper food diary with the proper prep before hand is so important. That way you, me, nor anyone else has to guess as to what exactly does and does not work for them in regards to food and drink. So, quit drinking coffee and see if your symptoms resolve. TEST EVERYTHING. It’s the ONLY way to know for sure. When I say test everything I don’t mean go have a beer and a steak. That just wouldn’t be a wise thing to do. Let me know how it works out. 🙂

  4. Sheila

    I have had pancreatic problems off and on for probably 10 yrs. I have had an ercp, which was a nightmare because it caused a pancreatic attack that lasted for 3 days. Months and months will go by with no pain then I will feel twinges. Today has been one of those days. I’ve had the pain since about noon today, ever so slight. I hope it passes. Tomorrow is my 4 yr anni with the post office and I don’t want to call in- I never have and I love my job.

  5. Nicole

    Hi there. 34 y old female recently diagnosed with Hereditary Chronic Pancreatitis. I am definitely going to be starting on your diet. I know each person with pancreatitis is very different and has a different experience but have you heard of anyone throughout your interaction with others that have the same condition and are able to manage it?

    1. The Health Guy Post author

      Hi Nicole – thanks for visiting and asking a great question 🙂 – to answer your question – Yes! I’ve also seen people receive only some relief. Some have difficulty staying the course (diet and supplements) and relapse or simply don’t heal up well. I’ve had people comment they are pain free after a time. I’ve also had a few that do not respond to diet and supplements even though they swear they are following what I do implicitly. I’ve had people remark about great experiences at first, a year or two and then they for some reason get worse. I wish I could tell you there was a 100% success rate but I can’t.

      1. Nicole

        Thank you for your response. The more people I talk to, the more I realize that this disease seems to affect each person who has it differently. But yes, diet is key. Thanks again.

          1. Anthony

            I have had 2 major flair ups in 10 mounths putting me in hospital. Would love to have a cup off coffee,is this a ok or recommended with pancreatitis?

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