Science

Consuming coffee significantly reduces the risk of chronic liver disease

Coffee is a drink consumed by tens of millions of people every day and, in addition to its energizing effect, it is also believed to protect consumers against chronic liver disease. Indeed, a team of researchers recently showed that daily consumption of instant or ground coffee resulted in a significant reduction in the risk of chronic liver disease compared to non-drinkers.

Drinking caffeinated (ground or instant) or decaffeinated coffee is associated with a reduced risk of developing chronic liver disease and associated liver conditions, according to a study published in the journal BMC Public Health. Researchers at the Universities of Southampton and Edinburgh, UK, found that consuming any type of coffee was associated with a reduced risk of developing and dying from chronic liver disease compared to non- coffee consumption, the maximum benefit being between three and four cups per day.

The authors studied UK Biobank data on 495,585 participants with known coffee consumption, who were followed for a median of 10.7 years to monitor the development of chronic liver disease and associated liver disease. Of all participants included in the study, 78% (384,818) consumed ground or instant coffee or decaffeinated coffee, while 22% (109,767) did not drink any type of coffee.

A significant reduction in the risk of chronic liver disease

During the study period, there were 3,600 cases of chronic liver disease, including 301 deaths. Additionally, there have been 5,439 cases of chronic liver disease or steatosis (a buildup of fat in the liver also known as fatty liver disease) and 184 cases of hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer.

Compared to non-coffee drinkers, coffee drinkers had a 21% reduced risk of chronic liver disease, a 20% reduced risk of fatty liver disease, and a 49% reduced risk of death from chronic liver disease. The maximum benefit was seen in the group that consumed ground coffee, which contains high levels of the ingredients Kahweol and cafestol, which have been shown to be beneficial against chronic liver disease in animals.

Forest diagram showing the association between the consumption of all types of coffee and the occurrence of chronic liver disease (CLD), steatosis, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and mortality from chronic liver disease. © Oliver J. Kennedy

Instant coffee, which has low levels of Kahweol and cafestol, has also been linked to a reduced risk of chronic liver disease. While the risk reduction was smaller than that associated with ground coffee, the results may suggest that other ingredients, or potentially a combination of ingredients, may be of benefit.

A study to be deepened

Oliver Kennedy, the lead author, indicates that “ coffee is widely available and the benefits we see in our study could mean that it could offer a potential preventative treatment for chronic liver disease. This would be particularly useful in countries with low income and poorer access to health care, and where the burden of chronic liver disease is greatest. “.

The authors caution that because coffee consumption was only reported when participants first enrolled in the study, the study does not account for any changes in the amount or type of coffee they received. ‘they used during the 10.7 year study period. As the participants were predominantly white and from a higher socioeconomic background, the results may be difficult to generalize to other countries and populations.

The authors suggest that future research could test the relationship between coffee and liver disease with tighter monitoring of the amount of coffee consumed. They also propose to validate their results with more diverse groups of participants.

Sources: BMC Public Health

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