Large study confirms coffee is beneficial for liver health

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October 26, 2021 – Drinking more than three cups of caffeinated coffee a day is associated with fewer liver problems, according to a new study.

The study is probably the most rigorous examination to date on the benefits of coffee on liver health in the United States.

“This is the closest link we can ever make between what people eat or drink and the health of their livers, in the absence of a longitudinal study where we set out to follow people for many years. “said Elliot Tapper. , MD, assistant professor of gastroenterology at the University of Michigan and lead author of the study.

Researchers looked at data from approximately 4,500 patients who participated in the survey in 2017-18. Participants were 20 years or older, with an average age of 48; 73% were overweight, around the national average.

Researchers have found no link between coffee consumption and a measure of fatty liver disease. But they found a link between coffee and stiff liver.

Those who drank more than three cups of coffee per day had a lower measure of liver stiffness measured in kilopascals. Liver stiffness greater than 9.5 kilopascals is a sign of liver fibrosis which can lead to cirrhosis.

Tapper said the data would be reassuring to doctors who suggest patients drink coffee.

“There are hepatologists around the world who are actively recommending coffee – they will feel empowered by this data,” he said. “I would always like to see more data before we start spending our precious time counseling patients about coffee. There are many other evidence-based interventions for the management of liver disease that we should be spending our time on. “

Nonetheless, he said, the data will be important for patients particularly interested in natural remedies.

“For patients who are very interested in a natural supplement, to feel like they are playing an active role in their liver health, I will tell them to avoid carbohydrates and increase their physical activity – and that it is okay to add coffee to their daily routine.

A study based on a UK database found that coffee appeared to protect against chronic liver disease, said Nathan Davies, PhD, professor of biochemistry at the University’s Institute of the Liver and Digestive Health. College London.

“Watching a snapshot does not necessarily reflect an individual’s behavior during the onset and development of their condition,” Davies said. As such, there are a number of behavioral and nutritional factors that could contribute to the effect observed over a period of several years.

He pointed out that although different types of coffee and brew affect the amount of caffeine in a cup, all of the cups of coffee in this study were treated the same.

MDedge’s WebMD Health News

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