For millions of people, coffee is a daily necessity. According to new research, the brew may reduce the risk of developing or dying from chronic liver disease. Chronic liver disease is a major health issue that affects people all over the world.
Liver disease can be passed down through families (genetic). A variety of factors that damage the liver, such as viruses, alcohol use, and obesity, can also cause liver problems.
Conditions that harm the liver over time can cause scarring (cirrhosis), which can lead to liver failure, a potentially fatal condition. However, early treatment may allow the liver to heal.
According to a new study, drinking coffee may help reduce the risk of chronic liver disease. The study, which was published in the BMC Public Health Journal, all types of coffee (including decaffeinated) have protective effects against chronic liver disease outcomes.
Oliver Kennedy of the University of Southampton’s Faculty of Medicine’s Primary Care & Population Sciences led the study, which included six other British researchers.
Over an 11-year period, the researchers examined the coffee habits of 384,818 coffee drinkers and 109,767 non-coffee drinkers. Participants in the study were adults aged 40 to 69.
During the 11-year study, the researchers examined the liver health of the participants. The researchers concluded that “coffee drinkers were 21% less likely to develop chronic liver disease, 20% less likely to develop chronic or fatty liver disease, and 49% less likely to die from chronic liver disease than non-coffee drinkers.”
The study also found that drinking 3–4 cups of coffee per day had the greatest protective effect.
The study said it “agrees with previous cohort studies that generally report inverse associations between coffee consumption and chronic liver disease outcomes, including deranged liver enzymes, fibrosis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma – which occurs in people with chronic Hepatitis B and C.”
There was also a risk reduction when instant, decaffeinated, and ground coffee were considered separately – though the latter had the greatest effect.
However, the study has limitations, including the fact that it cannot prove that coffee reduces the risk of chronic liver disease and that participants were only asked about their coffee drinking habits once.
According to Vanessa Hebditch of the British Liver Trust, the study adds to a growing body of evidence that coffee is beneficial to liver health.
“However, it is critical that people improve their liver health not only by drinking coffee but also by avoiding alcohol and maintaining a healthy weight through exercise and diet,” she said.