Are Coffee Enemas Safe for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome?
My client “Jessica” (name changed for privacy) was suffering badly with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance. She wondered if coffee enemas could benefit her.
She was desperate to try anything that would help her reclaim her health.
Jessica heard that coffee enemas work to boost detoxification.
Mold Toxicity was one of the root causes of Jessica’s Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. So, improving detox was something on both our minds.
Like Jessica, many of you have asked if coffee enemas can help if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.
Truthfully, there isn’t a lot of scientific evidence on either the benefits or detriments of coffee enemas.
I frequently get asked about them, though. So, I want to tell you what I’ve learned. And I want to share my experience and what I’ve seen with my clients, too.
You’ll need to talk with your provider about whether coffee enemas may be right for you.
And if you decide to try coffee enemas, you’ll want to know about some special considerations to make them more mast cell friendly.
I’ll tell you more about that, so keep reading!
In this post you’ll learn:
- What is a coffee enema?
- Benefits of coffee
- Potential coffee enema benefits
- Are there benefits to a coffee enema vs drinking coffee?
- Are coffee enemas right for you?
- Tips for making coffee enemas more mast cell friendly
- How to do a coffee enema
First, let’s look at what a coffee enema is.
What Is a Coffee Enema?
It’s important you know that this blog post is for informational and educational purposes. It’s not meant to treat any health condition or to be prescriptive for anyone. If you have any medical condition, it is critical you work under the care and guidance of a licensed medical provider.
An enema is the process of delivering fluids to your colon using a tube inserted into your rectum.
Enemas help cleanse your colon of toxins and waste material.
That’s why some people use them as part of a detox protocol.
They are used to help with constipation, too.
When you do an enema, you should feel a warm sensation as fluids flow to your colon. It shouldn’t feel painful.
However, some people do experience cramping and bloating at first.
I’ve done a coffee enema twice.
I had some mild cramping but felt good afterwards.
Different types of enemas use different fluids. Water is the most common.
However, there may be additional benefits from using different fluids, like coffee.
You’ll read more about the benefits of coffee (both for drinking and in enemas) in a bit.
Some of our clients love coffee enemas and do them regularly.
Some who have tried coffee enemas have reported:
- Fewer headaches and migraines
- Improved energy
- Ease from oxalate dumping
- Increased calm
- Improved digestive issues (like constipation)
Some of our clients have really sworn by coffee enemas, though. That’s why I wanted to share more on this topic.
Others found coffee enemas way too intense.
Before we go into coffee enemas, let’s look at some of the benefits of drinking coffee. You might already be staring your day this way!
But you’ll want to keep reading because there are some benefits that you may get from coffee enemas that you won’t get from drinking coffee.
Keep reading to learn more.
Benefits to Drinking Coffee
Do you already enjoy starting your day with a hot cup of coffee? Even decaf coffee provides some great benefits for your health!
Nutrients In Coffee
Coffee contains nutrients that have been shown to boost your health.
Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee are wonderful sources of:
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – can help with inflammation of nerves; can have antioxidant properties
- Magnesium – can help support mast cells, good digestion, and is needed for many of your body’s natural functions
- Antioxidants – fight free radicals that can be harmful to your body; have anti-inflammatory properties; help support a healthy brain
You can read more about the benefits of coffee in this related article: Low Histamine Coffee for MCAS (Also Mold Free Coffee)
Coffee can also be a source of caffeine.
Caffeine has been shown to:
- Stimulate bile flow from the liver and gallbladder which helps remove metabolic waste from your body
- Stimulate vagal nerve action which is important to help calm mast cell reactions
Drinking caffeine isn’t generally well tolerated in those with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance, though.
It can be overstimulating.
If you’ve just started the low histamine diet, you’ll see that caffeinated beverages aren’t recommended.
That’s where coffee enemas may help.
Let’s explore that more next.
Potential Coffee Enema Benefits
Like you read earlier, 1 of the main reasons people do enemas is to cleanse the colon of toxins and waste.
That’s why you’ll see enemas as part of some detox protocols.
That alone may be reason enough for some people to consider enemas.
But let’s look more at why you might consider coffee enemas, in particular. They may offer you benefits beyond detox, too.
The Benefits of Caffeine for the Vagal Nervous System
If you are in Phase 1 of the low histamine diet, coffee enemas may not be right for you at this time.
But you may consider coffee enemas if you’ve moved out of Phase 1.
Many people with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance still have some trouble consuming caffeine once they are out of Phase 1, though. But there may be another way to get some of the benefits of caffeine….
Now, I would recommend staring with decaf for your coffee enemas. You’ll still get some of the colon cleansing detox benefits.
But if tolerated, you might consider slowly building up to caffeinated coffee enemas. It may be a way to get some of the benefits of caffeine without the reactions you’d get from drinking caffeinated coffee.
That’s because some people do ok with caffeinated coffee through an enema even if they don’t do well with consuming caffeinated coffee as a drink.
That may be because caffeine is less bioavailable when taken as an enema.
Again, you’ll want to build up to this very slowly though.
Later, you’ll read more on how to do coffee enemas. And I’ll share with you my suggestion for how to start with decaf and how to build up to caffeine, if tolerated.
But first, here are more on the benefits of caffeine. And why some people choose to do caffeinated coffee enemas.
Caffeine and the Vagal Nervous System
One of the benefits of caffeine you read about earlier was that it can stimulate your vagal nervous system.
The vagal nerves are part of the parasympathetic nervous system. Improving your vagal tone is huge for calming stress…and your mast cells.
The vagal nerves play an important part in good nervous system health.
Nervous system dysregulation is extremely common in those with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.
We use varying modalities to support the limbic system and the vagal nervous system.
For some people, coffee enemas may be one way to get these nervous system benefits without the jitteriness or anxiousness that often comes with drinking caffeinated coffee.
Next let’s look at another benefit caffeinated coffee offers. Liver support.
Now, when it comes to supporting the liver, some studies say that drinking caffeinated coffee shows more benefits for liver support than coffee enemas.
But like we keep mentioning, drinking caffeinated coffee isn’t always well tolerated in MCAS and Histamine Intolerance.
So even if the benefits you’ll see from coffee enemas aren’t as pronounced, you can still get some of the potential benefits of caffeine this way.
Here are some of the benefits caffeine has been shown to have for supporting the liver.
Caffeine and Liver Detox
When you are doing a detox protocol, such as mold detox, you want to be extra mindful of toxins.
That’s why you may be taking binders as part of a detox protocol. They can help “catch” the toxins so they can be eliminated.
When your body is releasing stored toxins, they can get reabsorbed if your detox pathways aren’t supported properly. Or if you aren’t having normal bowel movements. That’s why it’s so important to have regular bowel movements before starting binders.
Coffee enemas may support detox because caffeine can stimulate bile flow. That helps the body remove waste.
You’ll get those benefits either from drinking coffee or by doing coffee enemas.
However, there is another potential benefit for liver detox that comes from coffee enemas.
Coffee Enemas Stimulate the Hepatic Portal Vein
With a coffee enema, it’s believed that caffeine goes directly to the liver through the hepatic portal vein in the large intestine. (Hepatic just means relating to the liver.)
Other compounds in coffee may also be responsible for dilating the hepatic portal vein and increasing the concentration of blood to the liver.
The increase in liver activity may stimulate an increase in bile flow and detoxification.
So, you can see that there are some potential advantages for coffee enemas.
Before you go any further, read more to see if coffee enemas may be right for you.
Is a Coffee Enema Right for You?
I can’t tell you for sure if a coffee enema is right for you. This information isn’t a replacement for medical advice from your healthcare provider who knows your full case history and risk factors.
But I do want to give you some starting points to be aware of when considering coffee enemas.
First, here are a few quick questions to help determine if coffee enemas should be considered.
1. Are you in Phase 2 of the MC360™ method?
Phase 1 is all about stabilization. During this phase, you focus on calming down your reactions.
You need to be past this stage before you even consider coffee enemas.
If you are in Phase 2, go to the next question.
2. Can you tolerate binders well?
Binders help “collect” the toxins in your body. That way they can be eliminated, typically through a bowel movement. Think of it like collecting the trash and putting it out on garbage day.
Since enemas help detox your colon, you’ll need to have some binders on board to help “take out the trash.”
If you can tolerate binders, go to the next question.
3. Can you tolerate several supplements?
If you can tolerate several supplements, you likely don’t fall into the super-sensitive category. If you are super-sensitive, coffee enemas aren’t going to be right for you.
If you answered yes to all 3 of those questions, you might be able to tolerate coffee enemas.
Before we look further into the potential benefits of coffee enemas, though, make sure that none of the following apply to you. If they do, coffee enemas won’t be right for you at this time.
Who Should Not Do Coffee Enemas
There are a few reasons coffee enemas may not be right for you at this time. Again, you’ll want to talk with your provider who knows your full health history and risk factors.
You shouldn’t consider coffee enemas if you have any of these health issues which would put you in a higher risk category for adverse reactions.
- Not tolerating any supplements
- Unable to take binders
- Significant nervous system dysregulation
- Allergic to coffee
- Significant electrolyte imbalances
- A narrowing or incomplete opening of the anus or rectum
- Kidney problems
- Congestive heart failure
- Abdominal pain
- Under 3 years of age
- Taking certain medications (please talk with your doctor)
- Gut health issues like:
- Swollen large bowel
- Blockage of the lower colon
- Pierced or blocked gut
- Active inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis
- Other structural bowel issues
This is not a full list of conditions that put you in a high risk category. However, I hope it helps give you an idea of the more common conditions that should exclude you from coffee enema use.
If you decide coffee enemas may be beneficial for you, there are a few things you’ll want to know if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome that will make your coffee enemas more mast cell friendly.
How to Make Your Coffee Enema More Mast Cell Friendly
Here are some of my top tips for doing a coffee enema if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.
First, you want to consider the type of coffee you’ll use.
Use the Best Organic Coffee for Enemas
Whether you are drinking coffee or doing a coffee enema, you’ll want to use good quality coffee.
You want your coffee to be:
- Low histamine
- Mold free
- Toxin free
A lot of coffee has mold. And molds can release toxins called mycotoxins.
You can end up with Mold Toxicity when you have a buildup of these mycotoxins.
If you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, there’s a good chance that Mold Toxicity is one of your root causes.
And if you are considering coffee enemas, there’s a good chance you are considering them because you want to up your detox game.
So don’t add to your toxin load by using just any coffee.
I prefer Purity Coffee. (It’s also my favorite coffee for drinking!)
You can learn all about their mold-free, low histamine coffee here.
Purity offers whole beans that you can freshly grind and brew.
In addition to the whole, organic coffee beans, Purity Coffee makes what are called Purity Pockets. They’re like teabags full of ground coffee.
If you are looking to minimize your prep, these Purity Pockets make brewing easy. I like the blue decaf called CALM.
TIP: Start with decaf if you aren’t sure how you do with caffeine.
You just read that a lot of benefits from coffee are from caffeine. However, with MCAS, I really suggest you start with decaf.
You’ll still get some of the other benefits like toxin removal. And that’s a big benefit if you are detoxing.
I suggest starting with decaf. You can slowly build up.
For example, once you know you do ok with the decaf coffee enema, and once you have built up how much you can retain, you can try 1 cup of decaf and add 1 Tablespoon of caffeinated coffee to it.
If this goes well, you can slowly continue to increase in this amount every few weeks or so.
Use Reverse Osmosis Filtered Water or Distilled Water
With Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, you always want to be thinking about reducing your toxin load.
Toxins are everywhere. You can’t remove them all. However, there are some easy ways to reduce your exposure.
A water filter is one way you can do this.
Good water filtration will serve you well all around.
And when it comes to coffee enemas, you want to use the cleanest filtered water possible to brew your coffee.
Your rectum does not have the same protective mechanisms that your stomach does. Your stomach acid will kill off certain bacteria that may be found in water. You won’t get that same protection when taking in fluids through your rectum.
You can use water from a reverse osmosis (RO) machine like the AquaTru.
You can read about why they are the most affordable way to remove mast cell triggers and other toxins from your water in my AquaTru review here.
Preferably, you’ll be able to use water from an RO system to make your coffee for enemas.
However, another option is using distilled water. Distilled water has a lot of minerals and organic material removed from it. So, it will likely have fewer toxins than water right out of your tap.
Buy distilled water in glass if you can.
Use Mast Cell Friendly Equipment for Your Coffee Enema
There are many coffee enema kits on the market.
Stay away from enema kits with plastic as a container or in the tubing. You don’t want the plastic leeching toxins into the warm coffee.
And the enema bags that come in kits are hard to get dry after you clean them. The last thing you want is to add mold to your coffee enema!
I recommend a stainless steel bucket instead. This one comes with silicone tubing, connectors, and a clamp.
You’ll want to replace the silicone tubing every 2-3 months. It’s long enough that you can cut the tubing in half. Here is the silicone replacement tubing I recommend.
I also recommend buying a separate silicone nozzle.
Most kits come with a softer plastic nozzle. The nozzle is what you insert into your rectum.
Again, you don’t want warm coffee running through plastic and carrying petrochemicals into your rectum. These can disrupt your hormones.
You’ll also want to stay away from the natural rubber ones because they contain latex.
Anyways, I think you’ll find silicone is more comfortable to insert.
Use a Mast Cell Friendly Lubricant
You will need some type of food grade, organic oil to act as a lubricant when you insert the tubing. You can use any oil that you already tolerate in your diet. Here are some options:
- Coconut oil – Some find that works best because it’s firmer at warm temperatures. This makes it less likely to drip off while you’re trying to insert the nozzle.
- Olive oil
- Castor oil
It’s up to your personal preference.
Just make sure you aren’t using a personal lubricant that may contain mast cell triggering ingredients.
Now that you know some tips for making enemas more mast cell friendly, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do a coffee enema.
How to Do a Coffee Enema
Here are the basics on how to do a coffee enema. You’ll learn tips and tricks from my clients who have been doing coffee enemas.
If you are constipated, you may want to do a water enema first. This will help clear out the colon.
Coffee enemas will cleanse the colon, too. But remember, the other benefits of coffee enemas come from absorbing the coffee itself.
So, a clearer colon will let you get the most benefits out of your coffee enema.
Step 1: Brew Your Coffee
You may brew your coffee in many ways. You might use the Purity Pockets, a French Press, or even a drip coffee maker.
However you prepare it, go ahead and make your coffee.
This next point is extremely important. It’s one of the most common things people do wrong with coffee enemas.
Let the coffee enema solution cool off! Don’t use it hot!
You must let the coffee cool down.
You don’t want a rectal burn!
To test the temperature of the water, you can stick your finger into the coffee solution for at least 5 seconds. If it isn’t uncomfortable, the temperature should be good.
You can also use a kitchen thermometer to test it.
Some clients report that it’s harder to hold at room temperature because that’s too cold.
You may find that you like it closer to your own body temperature, between 97-98 degrees F.
TIP: You’ll want to make sure that you are well hydrated beforehand. Some people have trouble releasing the coffee solution if they haven’t had enough water.
Step 2: Measure Out How Much You’ll Use
Consider starting with only 1/4 to 1/2 cup.
Additionally, focus on retention for only 5 minutes 1x/week to start. You can work up to holding longer over more time. (More on this coming up below!)
Work up to how much feels good to use. Some of my clients work up to 2 cups of coffee. A few do 3. Increase slowly by adding only a Tablespoon more each week.
Step 3: Get Your Equipment Set Up
The first few times you do a coffee enema, you’ll want to have the enema bucket only 6-8 inches above your hip. My clients who have done this say they found having a slower in-flow makes it easier to hold the fluid once it’s inside you.
Simply use a stool to place the bucket on.
As you get more comfortable, you may be able to hang your enema bucket from a towel rod or place it on the bathroom counter for better flow and efficiency.
With the bucket model, when the bucket is almost empty, you’ll want to tip it slightly towards where the tubing exits to get it all the way empty.
It’s up to you if you want to take the enema nozzle out after you empty out of the bucket. Either way, close the hose clamp so you don’t get back flow of liquid.
Step 4: Choose You Spot and Get Comfortable
You’ll want to lay down in a place that’s easy to clean up. The tub is a good place to start. Some people like to lay on a tile floor with an old towel beneath them.
You can lay on either your left or right side, with your dominant hand up.
If you are right-handed, lay on your left side. This makes it easier to insert the enema nozzle.
Step 5: Retaining the Coffee
I recommend starting to hold the fluids in for only 3-5 minutes.
Ideally, you’ll work up to holding the enema solution for 15-20 minutes after you drain the bucket.
You can work up slowly by adding 2 minutes each week.
My clients who do coffee enemas regularly report that they only leaked the first few times and then they adjusted to being able to hold it.
Step 6: Releasing the Fluid
Go to your toilet to release the fluids. They should release easily. This bowel movement will be predominantly liquid waste.
If you feel bloated afterwards, I recommend that you drink some water and then try to release some more.
Some of my clients report that they have an initial release. Then they get up to walk around the house, grab a drink of water, and then finish releasing it.
Step 7: Clean Up
Be sure to clean your bucket and tubing after each use. Castile soap and hot water will work fine.
Then hang your equipment to dry where it can drain well.
You don’t want mold to grow in the tubing!
I recommend replacing the tubing every 2-3 months.
Next, read more about some of the FAQ I get asked about coffee enemas.
What If I Feel Worse Afterwards?
If you do a coffee enema and don’t feel well after, you may not be ready for this kind of detox right now.
Or this may not be the right option for you. You might instead want to try sauna to support your detox.
Or you might retry in a few months.
Cramping and Bloating
Some people experience light cramping initially. Simply take deep breaths to see if you can relax. If it gets worse, stop the intake of fluids by squeezing the clamp on the tubing to close it for a moment to take a break.
You may also feel some bloating.
If your cramping goes away, you can continue.
If the cramping doesn’t go away, go ahead and release on the toilet.
If it isn’t very painful, it may go away after retention and release.
A couple of other troubleshooting points to consider are the amount you used and the length of retention.
If you do experience any issues, consider staring with less fluid. And consider holding it for less time, to start. And again, be sure to start with decaf.
How Often to Do Coffee Enemas
Generally, you don’t need to do coffee enemas daily to get the benefits.
One of the early proponents for coffee enemas was Max Gerson who experimented with coffee enemas for cancer therapies. The Gerson Therapy suggested a greater frequency of use than most people need.
And with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), our general rule is low and slow. You don’t want to do anything too fast or too much because it may set off reactions for you.
Go slow until you know if you can tolerate something.
I’ve seen that once a week is a good rate.
Many clients report that the easiest time to do it is after their morning bowel movement.
This way the colon is clearer, and you’ll get better absorption.
A Note on Coffee Enemas for Constipation
You read that one of the reasons people do enemas is they help with constipation.
Coffee enemas can help stimulate GI motility (movement of waste through the gut).
However, I don’t recommend enemas as a regular means of resolving constipation, unless you’ve tried everything else and nothing else works.
This is because you can develop dependencies on enemas, and it’s best if you can have a daily regular bowel movement on your own if possible.
Regular bowel movements are one of the main ways your body purges toxins.
And when it comes to coffee enemas, my clients report that retaining the fluid is also easier after emptying their bowels.
If you have constipation, here are a few tips.
- Drink enough water.
- Get enough fiber. Apples and cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower are low histamine foods that are high fiber options. You may also consider a fiber supplement like Sunfiber. Note: If you have SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), these fiber options won’t be right for you. You’ll need to talk with your provider and experiment to find some fiber you can tolerate.
- Take other supplements that may help with constipation such as certain forms of magnesium, like magnesium oxide.
Related Article: Mast Cell and Histamine Safe Forms of Magnesium
Will You Try Coffee Enemas?
Some people swear by coffee enemas as their secret for optimal health and wellness.
Coffee enemas aren’t for everyone, though.
Jessica, my client that you first read about in the beginning, decided she would give coffee enemas a try.
She’s noticed improvements she hadn’t seen before with other modalities.
Her biggest improvements were in:
- Brain fog
- Oxalate dumping relief
- Boosting in mold detox
- Morning calm
I’m so happy when my clients find ways to reclaim their health!
Personally, I did feel good after I did the coffee enema the 2 times I tried.
But generally, I find sauna more pleasant and convenient, so I’ve continued with sauna to support my detox.
There are a lot of different ways to support your health. I hope you’ll find what’s right for you!
If you like to learn by watching videos or listening, be sure to catch my presentation about coffee enemas here.
Whether you drink it or do a coffee enema, don’t miss out on this exclusive deal from Purity Coffee! I like the blue decaf called CALM.
Have you had any experiences with coffee enemas? Let me know in the comments!
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