Coffee Even Decaf May Promote Liver Health Study Finds
New research suggests that coffee consumption may lower the risk of liver disease.
Could drinking a few cups of coffee every day cut your risk of dying from liver disease almost in half? According to a new study, published June 22 in BMC Public Health, people who regularly consumed coffee, whether it was caffeinated or not, were less likely to develop chronic liver disease and chronic fatty liver disease, and had a lower risk of dying from liver disease, compared with those who didnt drink coffee.
For most of us, this is welcome news: According to the National Coffee Association, 62 percent of Americans drink coffee every day, and the average coffee drinker consumes slightly more than three cups per day. Chronic liver disease affects 4.5 million American adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The reduced risk was observed across different coffee types, such as instant, ground, and decaffeinated, says Oliver Kennedy, PhD, a professor at the University of Southampton in England and the lead author of the study. These benefits may mean coffee could be an easily accessible preventive treatment for chronic liver disease, he says.
Studies About Coffees Effect On Liver Disease
It all began with simple observation that prompted an epidemiological study: it seemed like people who drank coffee were less likely to develop cirrhosis of the liver. Dr. Arthur Klatsky then led a study, casting a wide net across 125,580 people from all ethnic backgrounds who volunteered information about their health habits voluntarily through their insurance plans. The study spanned 22 years and its results were first published in 1992 and then updated in 2006. Using the self-reported data, researchers found out that their hypothesis wasnt just a hunch: the statistics overwhelmingly indicated a correlation between freedom from cirrhosis of the liver and a hefty daily dose of java. In fact, it noted that people who drank alcohol heavily reduced their chances of getting cirrhosis by 40 percent drinking 2 cups of coffee per day, and by 80 percent if they drank 4 cups per day.
Don’t drink coffee “just in moderation,” says Dr. Chopra, “drink a lot of it! The more coffee you drink, the better the health benefit.”
Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte Smoothie
Blend all ingredients to create a seasonally-inspired drink. Using real pumpkin adds beneficial fiber.
- 1 cup coffee
- ½ cup milk of your choice
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup canned plain pumpkin
- 4 ice cubes
Try to limit added sugar as much as you can! If you MUST add sweetener, try pure maple syrup in a small quantity- start with 1 teaspoon.
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Expert Advice To People Suffering From Liver Disease
I like to recommend patients with chronic liver disease, especially patients with fatty liver disease, to drink about 3 cups of coffee per day. If patients can tolerate this without any side effects, its considered beneficial and safe.
Additionally, many other factors besides coffee drinking have been shown to improve liver health. These include good nutrition with a high-protein, low-fat, low-carbohydrate diet, and aerobic exercise about 2030 minutes of exercise per day.
A combination of all these factors is more important than one factor. I encourage my patient to engage in all these healthy lifestyle habits to improve their liver health.
There’s A Certain Amount Of Daily Coffee Drinking That Supports The Liver
Wakim-Fleming said a solid coffee amount to prevent liver problems is three cups a day. Interestingly, the Cleveland Clinic added that for patients who have been diagnosed with hepatitis or fatty liver disease, it might sounds steepbut up to six cups a day might be OK for individuals with these liver conditions.
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Liver Disease On The Rise
Chronic liver disease is one of the most common disease-related causes of death in the United States. An estimated 31,000 U.S. individuals die from cirrhosis each year. Worryingly, liver disease appears to be on the rise in the Western world, too. This is primarily due to excess alcohol, calorie, and fat intake.
One of the major concerns debated at the event is that most people with liver disease are unaware that they have a problem. And, although the liver is a vital organ, it is not often seen as such a high priority as the heart.
Against this stark backdrop, the latest report brings some welcome relief: that cup of joe youre holding might go some way toward saving the day. Prof. Alexander explains the importance of these talks.
He says, Liver disease is on the rise across Europe, and it is important that we understand how coffee, one of the most popular drinks in the world, and diet affects the disease.
Research suggests that coffee, Prof. Alexander notes, may reduce the risk of liver diseases and it is important patients have access to dietary information and advice from healthcare professionals in a manner that is easy for them to understand and act upon.
To add to this ever-growing list of liver ailments eased by coffee, some studies looked at its effects on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease . Again, the findings were positive.
However, the effect is so strong across numerous studies that this could not account for the entire association.
Further Research Is Needed To Confirm Findings On Coffee And Liver Health
Its important to note that the study didn’t show that coffee caused the reduced risk of liver disease, says Kennedy. There may be other attributes of coffee drinkers that explain the protective effect against liver disease, although we did adjust for the main known risk factors. Ideally, we would need a randomized controlled trial in order to make specific recommendations, he says.
Massoud says that the gold standard would be a study in which some people would be randomly assigned to drink coffee or not drink coffee and they would be observed and evaluated over an extensive period of time. Ideally, this would also be double-blinded, which would mean that neither the participants nor the researchers would know who was drinking coffee and who was not, which would be difficult to achieve, he says.
It might be more feasible to test a capsule that contained the compounds found in coffee against a placebo, says Massoud.
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Beverages Containing Caffeine More Harmful To Liver Than Alcohol
Are you a coffee, tea, or cola addict? If so, youre not alone. People become addicted to these beverages because they help them to feel refreshed and boost mental alertness while also alleviating weariness and improving attention and focus. Caffeine is a chemical found in a variety of items, including coffee, tea, and cola, among others. Caffeine is a regularly used stimulant that is also included in a variety of other sorts of medications. Caffeine is also employed in the treatment of type-2 diabetes as well as in the aiding of weight reduction.
Caffeines health advantages are also a little ambiguous and subject to disagreement.
Caffeine has a number of impacts on the body, including on the liver, as previously stated.
It is possible for blood flow to the liver to get obstructed as a result of the buildup of scar tissue, which impairs the livers capacity to function correctly and to heal itself.
It is also the most important organ in the bodys immune system.
Hepatocytes are responsible for the regeneration of the liver, which replaces damaged tissues with healthy and new liver tissue.
In any form in which caffeine enters the body, it is metabolized by the liver, which releases specific enzymes in order to prevent the chemical from entering the bloodstream.
The enzymes generated by the liver during the process of metabolizing caffeine also assist in the metabolism of the hormones associated with pregnancy.
Consuming More Coffee Provided The Greatest Benefit
Using data from the UK Biobank, a nonprofit health database, researchers followed 494,585 participants who had provided initial information about how much coffee they consumed. The median age of the subjects was 58 years old, 54.5 percent of participants were female, and 94 percent were white.
People were followed over a median of 10.7 years and monitored for the development of chronic liver disease and related liver conditions.
Out of the group, 78 percent of the participants were coffee drinkers and drank an average of two cups of coffee a day 22 percent did not drink any type of coffee. Of the coffee drinkers, 55 percent drank instant coffee, 23 percent drank ground coffee , and 19 percent drank decaf.
During the study period, there were 3,600 cases of chronic liver disease, including 301 deaths. There were 5,439 cases of chronic liver disease or steatosis, also known as fatty liver disease, which is a buildup of fat in the liver, and 184 cases of hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer.
To isolate the impact of coffee on liver disease, researchers controlled for several factors, including smoking status, diabetes, body mass index , ethnicity, alcohol consumption, and the Townsend deprivation score, which is a way to determine socioeconomic status. The UK Biobank assigned a Townsend deprivation score to each participant according to their zip code and average levels of employment, home and car ownership, and household overcrowding.
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Five Reasons Why Coffee Is A Health Food According To Scientists
For many people, the day hasnt begun until they have had that first or second cup of coffee.
Coffee is their start button, their get-up-and-go tonic.
People have been feeling that way for literally hundreds of years.
For much of that time the big question was: But is coffee safe?
The standard line for years has been: Two to six cups of coffee per day is safe for most healthy adults, with an upper limit of 400mg of caffeine.
A Harvard explainer advises: Not much is known about the effects of coffee on children, and caffeine could be harmful to pregnancies. Too much caffeine can also cause anxiety in people with panic or anxiety disorders.
The prevailing question now: Is coffee good for you?
The short answer: Let us count the ways.
The long answer: Its complicated.
The reason for this is that coffee is a chemically complex substance, where there is more than caffeine working as an active ingredient. See this explainer by UK scientists that we ran in December.
However, there is growing evidence that coffee might be good for your health, protective against disease and help you perform better, according to multiple studies.
Science is working on it.
Coffee And Likely Protective Effects Against Development Of Fibrosis
Coffee clearly correlates with reduced frequency of fibrosis, but is coffee itself responsible for these effects, or can its probable protection against fibrosis be seen utilizing any caffeinated beverage? Other studies referenced above seem to suggest hepatoprotection is unique to coffee amongst caffeinated beverages, however, a 2001 study attempted to answer this question head-on. This group noted that caffeine intake from other beverages did not show significant odds ratio along with no evidence of significant trends over the amount of intake whereas with coffee intake there was an inverse association with cirrhosis and coffee consumption with just one cup of coffee daily. A 2012 study found a similar association of reduced observation of advanced in coffee drinkers but not in espresso.
There is always a concern when findings of a beverage are correlated with health benefits that there may be confounding factors in play. In a case-control study performed in Italy, it was confirmed that the inverse relationship between coffee consumption and cirrhosis across strata of tobacco use, alcohol consumption, age, and sex. A consistent inverse relationship was still noted in moderate alcohol drinking indicating the relationship between coffee consumption and cirrhosis is not restricted to alcohol-related cirrhosis.
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How To Have A Healthy Liver
Drinking coffee is just one way to keep your liver healthy. Dr. Wakim-Fleming says its also important to get vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B viruses, which both damage the liver.
A healthy diet is also key. The liver is the first organ to metabolize the foods we eat. Eating a lot of high-sugar, high saturated-fat foods can lead to fatty liver disease, she says. And of course, heavy alcohol drinking can permanently damage the liver and lead to cirrhosis.
However, coffee isnt a miracle worker. It wont completely reverse liver disease or undo the damage caused by excessive alcohol use. But it can be one delicious and satisfying step toward a happier liver.
Drinking More Coffee May Undo Liver Damage From Booze
Reuters Health reports that According to a review of known studies, increasing ones coffee consumption may assist to minimize the type of liver damage that is linked with overindulging in foods and alcoholic beverages. When I arrived in Guatemala City on February 26, 2010, there were several cups of cappuccino on a table. It was the World Coffee Conference. Daniel LeClair for Reuters Data from nine previously published studies with a total of more than 430,000 individuals were evaluated by the researchers, who discovered that consuming two extra cups of coffee per day was associated with a 44 percent decreased chance of developing liver cirrhosis.
Oliver Kennedy of Southampton University in the United Kingdom, cirrhosis is a potentially lethal disease for which there is now no therapy. It is therefore noteworthy that use of coffee, which is a low-cost and widely available beverage that is well-tolerated, may lower the chance of developing cirrhosis, Kennedy explained in an email to researchers.
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Liver Benefits Of Coffee
Over the past few years, several well-constructed studies have concluded that coffee helps support liver health.
- Back in 2005, research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found a relationship between drinking coffee and a reduced risk of liver cancer. This study of over 90,000 Japanese people found that people who drank coffee daily or nearly every day had half the liver cancer risk of those who never drank coffee. The researchers found that the protective effect occurred in people who drank one to two cups of coffee a day and increased at three to four cups. Because decaf coffee is rare in Japan, the effect of regular and decaffeinated coffee was not compared.
- As published in a February 2012 edition of the journal Hepatology, researchers investigated the effect of caffeinated coffee consumption on the liver in those with a fatty liver. Their findings were encouraging for the estimated quarter of Americans with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease coffee consumption demonstrated an ability to prevent against liver fibrosis progression.
- As published in a June 2013 edition of the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, caffeine was singled out to determine what component of coffee may help prevent the progression of liver fibrosis. The researchers found a positive link between caffeine and liver damage inhibition.
Coffee And An Association With Decreased Liver Enzymes
In numerous studies, it has been noted that coffee consumption has been associated with decreased levels of aspartate aminotransferase , alanine aminotransferase , gamma-glutamyltransferase , and alkaline phosphatase . One of the first studies to document consumption of coffee with relatively decreased GGT was in 1985 in the Tromsø Heart Study. That same year, another study noted an inverse relationship between coffee consumption and AST and ALT levels amongst both Korean and Japanese immigrants. These studies began an investigation into elucidating a more direct relationship between coffee and possible hepatoprotective properties. The Tromsø study looked at multiple beverages, notably including green tea. Since 1985 multiple other studies have been performed with similar findings when testing specifically for the possible effect of coffee consumption on liver disease.
While studies had been performed previously testing for coffee consumption and its association with liver enzyme levels, one study evaluated effect of coffee in patients with risk factors for chronic liver disease: consumption of greater than two alcoholic beverages daily, positive serum HBV antigen, positive serum HCV antibody, transferrin saturation > 50%, elevated BMI, and uncontrolled diabetics. This study demonstrated relatively reduced levels of ALT amongst these higher risk groups.
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Is Too Much Coffee Bad For The Liver
No, based on most of the studies, the beneficial effects of coffee and liver disease have a direct relationship with the amount of coffee intake. Most of these benefits are reported at drinking 4 cups of coffee regularly. However, this high intake can also cause damage to the other aspects of your health in terms of increasing your heart rate, anxiety, heartburn.
Therefore, to prevent these side effects while deriving the best benefits from coffee, it is generally advised to consume about 3 cups per day.
Should People Up Their Coffee Consumption For Liver Health
Even though cause and effect are not established in this study, there have been other studies that have confirmed the same point, says Massoud. Coffee appears to have a protective effect against liver disease, and people who drink coffee regularly tend to have less liver disease.
Considering that coffee is safe, is something many people normally drink, and has other benefits, its probably a good practice from a health perspective to drink more, unless you already consume three or four cups a day, says Massoud. Just be aware that coffee isnt medicine, and if you are sensitive to caffeine , you may want to skip the java or at least consult your doctor about making any changes to your diet, especially if you have a history of liver problems.
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