Coffee and liver health

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A new study found that people who drank coffee had a lower risk of liver disease.

When you have your morning coffee, you may be doing more than just giving yourself a kick start your day – you may be keeping your liver healthy, too. New research presented earlier this month at American Society for Nutrition Annual Meeting in Boston suggests that coffee lovers might have a lower risk of liver disease than those who forgo drinking a regular cup of coffee.

A research team led by Emily Hu, a doctoral student at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, analyzed data from 14,208 people aged 45 to 64 who had been part of the national program Community Atherosclerosis Risk Study (ARIC). This study looked at the presence of atherosclerosis – a disease in which plaque builds up in your arteries – in people in the United States.

Over a period of 26 years, these people all filled out questionnaires about the foods they consumed, including coffee. Hu and his team focused on those who said they drank coffee and crossed paths, using hospital discharge records and death certificates, with the people in the study who experienced hospitalizations and illnesses. liver-related deaths.

What they found is good news for coffee lovers: People who drank three or more cups a day were 21% less likely to be hospitalized with liver-related disease.

“It was a really good experience presenting this research and it was quite surprising to see the interest in this research,” Hu told Healthline. “Everyone who loves coffee was thrilled to hear these results. ”

Hu said the ARIC study featured a rich representative sample of Americans, surveying communities in four states – North Carolina, Mississippi, Minnesota and Maryland.

“Others said it would not be surprising if coffee could protect liver disease and that it could benefit the liver,” she added. “An interesting thing was that this cohort exhibited a mixture of characteristics of those who drank coffee. Some were current smokers. People who drink large amounts of coffee are more likely to be current smokers and are more likely to drink alcohol.

She explained that coffee’s links to liver health were not diminished even when other factors like a poor diet or smoking were taken into account. The average person in the survey drank just under two 8-ounce cups per day.

Dr Jamile Wakim-Fleming, a gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic, said the results of this study are consistent with previous research on coffee being linked to a lower risk of liver disease.

She warned, however, that people avoid adding too much sugar or cream – or at least doing it in moderation – to avoid risk to your heart. This means minimizing the high calorie Starbucks Frappuccinos.

“I tell my patients to drink coffee if they wish, it specifically helps those with signs of alcoholic liver disease,” Wakim-Fleming told Healthline. “But it should be noted that they cannot continue to drink alcohol if they want to improve their liver disease, even if they drink coffee.”

She added that coffee is not a magic cure for liver disease and people should be aware of the underlying reasons for liver disease like alcohol consumption.

The new study is certainly not the first to highlight the health benefits of coffee. A 2017 review of 201 studies found that coffee, in general, was associated more with health benefits than harm. The authors found that drinking coffee had a lower risk of everything from heart disease and cancer to neurological, metabolic and, yes, liver conditions.

Coffee is very popular in the United States. About 54% of people over 18 in the United States drink coffee every day, according to at the TH Chan School of Public Health at Harvard.

Over time, opinions about the health of coffee have shifted from negative to positive. In 1991, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) – the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization – identified coffee as a possible carcinogen, reviewing studies that linked the caffeinated drink to bladder cancer.

Fast forward to a 2016 report in The Lancet Oncology and IARC changed its mind on coffee. He removed coffee from his list of possible causes of cancer, saying it was no longer possible to say coffee was the cause of the disease, the American Cancer Society reports.

Hu and his team recently submitted their research to a journal. She said at the Boston conference people kept asking her how much coffee they should drink.

“I want to clarify for people asking that although we have found this association which adds to the evidence that coffee could be beneficial for people’s health and that it is certainly not harmful, if they do not drink of coffee is okay, ”said Hu mentioned. “They can get health benefits from other foods in their diet. They don’t need to worry. For those who drink coffee, it’s good to keep drinking coffee without the guilt. “


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