There's plenty of good news about coffee and liver disease.
After so many years of being told that coffee is bad for us, it’s hard to keep up with the more recent studies that tell us the opposite.
Whether it’s diabetes, colon cancer or the effects of smoking, all we hear now is good news about coffee.
With regard to liver disease, consider these two news items:
Coffee reduces risk of death from liver disease
7/24/2003 - Drinking three cups of coffee daily may reduce the risk of mortality from liver cirrhosis, suggest researchers in Norway.
The team from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo followed up 51,306 adults who underwent screening for cardiovascular disease from 1977 to 1983. During this time, 53 deaths were cirrhosis-related, and 36 of these deaths were attributed to alcoholic cirrhosis.
The relative risk of liver cirrhosis, adjusted for sex, age, alcohol use and other major cardiovascular risk factors, seemed to be reduced by 40 per cent for those drinking three daily cups of coffee. For alcoholic cirrhosis the results were identical, reported the researchers in this month's Annals of Epidemiology.
“The present study confirms the existence of an inverse association between coffee consumption and liver cirrhosis,” concluded the researchers, although they could not explain which component of coffee was producing the protective effect. The beneficial ingredient is unlikely to be caffeine however.
Source: nutraingredients-usa.com, 2005
Coffee, Caffeine Consumption Associated With Reduced Liver Disease
May 18, 2004 (New Orleans) — A U.S. population study of 5,944 adults conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) has found a strong association between coffee drinking and caffeine consumption and a lower risk of liver injury in persons at high risk for liver disease.
The researchers defined the high-risk population as those who reported being heavy drinkers of alcohol, or who had hepatitis B or C, iron overload, were obese, or had impaired glucose metabolism. Liver injury was defined as a serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activity level in excess of 43 U/L.
The researchers reported that overall, the greater the coffee consumption, the greater the association with liver protection (P = .034 for the trend). The highest consumption noted was more than two cups of coffee per day. Consumers of more than two cups of coffee per day had an odds ratio (OR) for elevated ALT of 0.56 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.31 - 1.0); those who drank one to two cups had an OR of 0.83 (95% CI, 0.49 - 1.4). Those who drank less than one cup had an odds ratio of 1.4 (95% CI, 0.84 - 2.4), with zero cups being assigned an OR of 1.0.
Source: Medscape Medical News, 2004
In a more recent study, conducted between 2005 and 2010, researchers found that compared with non coffee drinkers, those who drank three cups a day or more were about 25 percent less likely to have abnormal liver enzyme levels. Among the more than 2,000 who drank only decaffeinated coffee, the results were similar.
No miracle cure, but...
Nobody is suggesting that coffee will cure you of liver disease, not now or in the future. But it’s reassuring to know that the brew we enjoy so much has some very healthy attributes.
Coffee and liver disease is just one of the areas where coffee appears to play an active and positive role.
About the author: Nick Usborne, aka Coffee Detective, is a writer and long-time coffee enthusiast. Read more…