Even when it comes to healthy foods - you can have too much of a good thing.
If you’ve been swept up in the matcha madness and accidentally had a few cups too many, your stomach might have decided to kick up a stink - literally.
For some people, gastrointestinal symptoms and discomfort such as diarrhea can happen if you overdo it with your matcha intake.
So no, if it’s happened to you - you’re not having a severe reaction, and you’ll be okay, but for your peace of mind, stick with us to learn more about the link between matcha and pooping - and what you can do about it.
Can Matcha Cause An Upset Stomach?
Unfortunately, yes - matcha can cause stomach upset. Diarrhea is a common complaint amongst some matcha drinkers, but what causes it?
Although matcha is a powerhouse of nutrients, it contains a pretty high amount of caffeine. Your average cup of matcha could have anywhere between 70-170mg of caffeine.
To put that into perspective, coffee contains roughly 80-100mg.
Matcha also contains a whole host of vitamins and antioxidants, including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
While we need a regular intake of vitamins to maintain our health, consuming too much of anything can cause unwanted effects. Even vitamins.
Some vitamins, especially vitamin C, are known for causing adverse reactions such as stomach cramps, nausea, and even diarrhea when consumed in high quantities.
So, if you’re chugging down matcha like nobody's business, this could be a leading cause of your diarrhea and stomach upset.
Caffeine And The Digestive System
Although the vitamins and antioxidants found in matcha can definitely contribute to loose bowel movements, caffeine is the main offender.
Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant that’s usually found in tea and coffee. It can also be added to artificial drinks and sweeteners.
Although caffeine can affect several organs in the body, it usually targets the brain and can contribute to an increased sense of alertness.
While caffeine can be our saving grace in the mornings, it also has the potential to wreak havoc on our digestive systems.
To understand how caffeine impacts our digestive health, we need to come back to our main point - caffeine is a stimulant.
Although this makes it a great energy booster, it can also cause that sudden and unavoidable urge to poop. If you consume too much caffeine, it can also make your stools runnier. Nice.
Research has found that caffeine has the ability to cause contractions in the colon and push the contents directly towards our rectums, the last section of our digestive system, causing us to poop.
To be even more specific, additional research has shown that caffeine can actually make our colon 60% MORE active than water.
With such an amazing taste, numerous health benefits and a powerful relaxing effect - it’s easy to want to have cup after cup of matcha. However, with matcha having such a naturally high caffeine content, it’s no surprise that consuming several cups a day can kick our digestive systems into action with a laxative type effect!
What To Do If Matcha Gives You Diarrhea
If your matcha habit is giving you diarrhea - you’re not alone.
Due to its high caffeine content, combined with its electrolytes and antioxidants, it’s pretty common for matcha to get things moving people. Coffee drinkers aren’t unfamiliar with this process.
First off, rest assured that this probably isn't an adverse reaction to matcha. However, if you think your diarrhea is excessive, you’re concerned about dehydration, or you’re experiencing other unwanted side effects, it’s always best to stop consuming matcha.
If you’re just experiencing a little more movement than normal but want to carry on drinking matcha, you can do a few things to ease the burden on your digestive system.
Limit Your Matcha Intake
Although matcha has a high caffeine content, consuming just one or two cups a day shouldn’t cause excessive pooping for most people.
If you’re consuming more than two cups a day, we’d recommend dialling back your matcha intake and seeing if you notice any improvement. You can also try reducing the amount of powder you put in each serving.
Usually, one teaspoon of matcha powder is enough for one serving. So, if you’re exceeding this, we’d recommend reducing your intake.
Use Cool Water
It’s also thought that using hot water in your matcha drink could increase activity in the colon.
Although there's no hard evidence to confirm this, try drinking cold matcha and see if your symptoms improve.
Limit Other Caffeine Sources
Although matcha has a high caffeine content, drinking it alongside other caffeinated beverages in your diet, such as coffee, may cause diarrhea.
Coffee often has a higher caffeine content than matcha, and drinking several cups of both beverages a day may worsen your symptoms.
It’s also worth making sure that it definitely is matcha that is causing the problem - there may be other things in your diet contributing as well (e.g. many people report protein powder making them poop more).
Matcha Is Good For You
Unless you’ve experienced a severe adverse reaction to matcha (which is extremely rare), an increase in bowel movements is nothing to worry about!
Matcha is a superfood for a reason. It contains many important vitamins and antioxidants which are essential for maintaining good health.
If you’re using a high-quality matcha powder, notable health benefits can include:
- Improved Brain Function: Studies have found that matcha contains a more concentrated amount of caffeine than other green teas. This may explain its links to improved cognitive function, faster reaction times, enhanced memory, and more.
- Could Promote Better Heart Health: Research has shown that green teas like matcha are associated with and may help with a reduced risk of developing diseases such as strokes and heart disease.
- May Protect the Liver: Studies have shown that regularly consuming green tea could even potentially reduce the risk of developing liver disease.
The Bottom Line
Increased bowel movements are common amongst regular matcha drinkers, however, not everyone will experience these symptoms - and a lot of the time, it’s not actually a bad thing.
If you are feeling the urge to poop more often, rest assured that this is nothing to worry about, however,if you’re experiencing diarrea then you may need to dial it back.
Matcha has a high caffeine content, and by simply reducing your daily intake, you can combat that more frequent urge to poop.
The video below will give you a few extra details on how coffee affects the digestive system, however, there are some great pointers that apply to matcha as well. Watch it and you’ll see what we mean.