Coffee Can Prevent Alcohol-Related Cirrhosis

The benefits of coffee consumption have long been questioned, but now a new group of experts have given it the thumbs up.

The benefits of coffee consumption have long been questioned, but now a new group of experts have given it the thumbs up.

According to a review of studies published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, increasing coffee intake could help reduce the chances of developing alcohol-related cirrhosis.

To examine the relationship between coffee consumption and the risk of cirrhosis, a research team led by Oliver Kennedy, MD, Southampton University in Britain, analyzed nine studies involving more than 430,000 participants.

Overall, the studies included 1,990 cirrhosis patients.

The length of the studies varied, but one lasted nearly 20 years.

In eight of the nine studies analyzed, increasing coffee consumption by two cups per day was “associated with a statistically significant reduction in the risk of cirrhosis” — specifically by 44%.

Furthermore, compared to no coffee consumption, researchers noted approximately one cup per day was linked to 22% lower risk of cirrhosis, three cups helped decrease the risk by 57%, and four cups significantly dropped the risk to 65%. “However, there may be an upper limit beyond which there is no further benefit,” expressed Kennedy.

Nevertheless, the researchers cautioned caffeine enthusiasts not to immediately load up on fancy lattes and sugar-laden frappes. According to Kennedy, it’s not yet clear what compound in coffee or even which type of coffee bean leads to a healthier liver.

The research team noted that the potential link between coffee’s health benefits and cirrhosis isn’t a new discovery; however, health care professionals often find this a difficult concept to accept.

Additionally, researchers expressed some of the studies reviewed did not account for other risk factors for cirrhosis, like obesity and diabetes.

Kennedy concluded, “The findings mean more research is needed. We now need to conduct proper clinical trials, similar to those necessary for authorization of a new pharmaceutical product, so that doctor and health policy makers can make specific recommendations.”