Go ahead, pour yourself another cup of coffee, if you know what’s good for you. The results of a recent study are receiving attention after it found that drinking at least 2 cups of coffee a day can reduce liver damage, even damage to the liver caused by alcohol consumption.

Specifically, the study found that 2 cups of coffee reduces liver damage caused by hepatitis C by 13% and that 4 cups reduce signs of fatty liver disease by as much as 24%.

Researchers at Monash University evaluated more than 1100 patients with liver disease treated at the Monash Health Clinic for more than 18 months and determined that drinking coffee reduced liver stiffness (a gauge for liver disease) in patients, even after taking other risk factors into account such as alcohol and smoking habits.

Liver disease specialist and lead researcher Alex Hodge, MD, PhD, presented the data at the recent annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in San Francisco.
When asked if the effects can be attributed to caffeine, Dr Hodge responded that although he isn’t entirely sure yet, he thinks it may be a combination of caffeine and other substances in the coffee. For instance, he noted that the results were not as optimistic when he analyzed the patients’ consumption of tea.

“In the past some basic science has suggested that it’s certainly caffeine plus something else, so decaffeinated coffee probably has some effect but not to the degree that caffeinated coffee has,” Dr Hodge reported in an interview with Australian radio station 3AW news, while revealing that he had 3 cups of coffee prior to the interview.


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Dr Hodge became interested in chronic liver disease during his medical career. He holds an early career practitioner fellowship in the Centre for Inflammatory Diseases at the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health. Dr Hodge plans to further his research in stem cell therapy for liver regeneration.

As the major organ responsible for detoxifying the body, the liver is prone to diseases caused by toxins that pass through it. It is recommended that people follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, avoid alcohol, and—of course—drink coffee to maintain a healthy liver.

Coffee’s positive reputation has been on the rise as more studies of its effects shed light on the energizer (link to https://www.themedicalbag.com/article/10-bad-things-that-are-really-good-for-you). It’s known that coffee drinkers are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes and that the odds of developing the disease drop by 7% with each additional cup per day. Studies have also shown that coffee may protect against Parkinson’s disease, improve cognitive function, and reduce the risk of depression.

Reference

  1. Calligeros M. Coffee can reduce impact of liver diseases, Monash University researchers find. The Age website. November 17, 2015. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/coffee-can-reduce-impact-of-liver-diseases-monash-university-researchers-find-20151116-gl0ma0.html.  Accessed December 9, 2015.
  2. Research reveals coffee prevents liver damage. 3AW website. November 17, 2015. http://www.3aw.com.au/news/research-reveals-coffee-prevents-liver-damage-20151116-gl0k0s.html.  Accessed December 9, 2015.
  3. Roman J. At least 2 cups of coffee a day may reduce impact of liver disease: Australian researchers. Tech Times website. November 18, 2015. http://www.techtimes.com/articles/107603/20151118/at-least-2-cups-of-coffee-a-day-may-reduce-impact-of-liver-disease-australian-researchers.htm.  Accessed December 9, 2015.
  4. Unexpected health benefits of coffee revealed. Monash University website. November 17, 2015. http://monash.edu/news/show/unexpected-health-benefits-of-coffee-revealed.  Accessed December 9, 2015.