Mar 4, 2016

Coffee and Cirrhosis

According to new research published online Jan. 25, 2016 in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, drinking more coffee could lower the risk of alcohol-related cirrhosis.

While there are observational studies that have already been reported regarding the link between coffee and cirrhosis, the researchers wanted to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to establish the inverse relationship between the two.

They found that by adding two or more cups of coffee a day, a person can reduce the risk of developing liver cirrhosis by 44 percent. The inverse association continues as the number of cups increases. For every additional three cups, the risk was reduced 57 percent; and for every four cups added, the risk was further reduced to 65 percent.

"Cirrhosis is potentially fatal and there is no cure as such," said lead study author Dr. Oliver Kennedy of Southampton University in the U.K. "Therefore, it is significant that the risk of developing cirrhosis may be reduced by consumption of coffee, a cheap, ubiquitous, and well-tolerated beverage."

According to the National Institution of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, cirrhosis is a condition in which the liver, the body's largest internal organ, gradually gets worse and is unable to perform its normal functions, because of chronic damage.

There are some limitations to the study as it was not able to account for other risk factors of liver disease, such as obesity and diabetes. The study also did not mention whether the type of beans or brewing method is significant to the results.

According to one expert, while the findings of the study showed positive effects of drinking coffee on the risk of cirrhosis, it should not give people the false hope that coffee can lessen the seriousness or extent of the liver damage.
"Unfortunately, although coffee contains compounds that have antioxidant effects and anti-inflammatory properties, drinking a few cups of coffee a day cannot undo the systematic damage that is the result of being overweight or obese, sedentary, excessive alcohol consumption or drastically mitigate an unhealthy diet," said Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York.

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