Drinking Coffee May Reduce Risk of Chronic Liver Disease, Study Finds

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Drinking Coffee May Reduce Risk of Chronic Liver Disease, Study Finds


From espresso to instant, coffee is part of the daily routine of millions of people. Now, research suggests the brew may be linked to a lower chance of developing or dying from chronic liver disease.

Chronic liver disease is a major health problem around the world. According to the British Liver Trust, liver disease is the third leading cause of premature death in the UK, with deaths increasing by 400% since 1970.

The new study is the latest to suggest that drinking coffee may provide benefits, with previous work suggesting it may help prevent liver cancer and reduce the risk of alcohol-related liver disease.

“This confirms in a large British cohort that coffee consumption protects against serious liver disease,” said Professor Paul Roderick, co-author of the study from the University of Southampton.

Writing in the journal BMC Public Health, Roderick and colleagues report how they analyzed data from 494,585 participants in UK Biobank – a project designed to help uncover genetic and environmental factors associated with particular conditions.

All participants were between 40 and 69 years old when they enrolled in the project, with 384,818 saying they initially drank coffee, compared to 109,767 who did not.

The team looked at participants’ liver health over a median of almost 11 years, finding 3,600 cases of chronic liver disease, with 301 deaths and 1,839 cases of uncomplicated fatty liver disease.

The analysis found that after taking into account factors such as body mass index, alcohol consumption, and smoking status, those who drank any amount of coffee, whatever it was. , had a 20% lower risk of developing chronic liver disease or fatty liver disease (taken together) than those who did not consume the brew. Coffee drinkers also had a 49% lower risk of dying from chronic liver disease.

The team said the magnitude of the effect increased with the amount of coffee consumed, up to about three to four cups per day, “beyond which further increases in consumption provided no additional benefit. “.

A reduction in risk was also seen when instant, decaffeinated, and ground coffee were considered separately – although the latter was linked to the larger effect.

However, the study has limitations, including that it cannot prove that coffee itself reduces the risk of chronic liver disease, while participants were only asked about their coffee drinking habits. at one point.

“This however raises the problem that it could be an effective intervention to prevent serious liver disease, for example in people at high risk,” Roderick said, noting that there are many ingredients that can exert beneficial effects on liver disease and that these vary between types of coffee.

Vanessa Hebditch, of the British Liver Trust, said the research adds to a growing body of evidence that coffee is good for liver health.

“However, it is important that people improve their liver health not only by drinking coffee,” she said, “but also by reducing their alcohol intake and maintaining a healthy weight by exercising. exercising and eating well. “

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