A lot of people just can’t imagine starting their day without a cup of coffee. With over 450 billion cups of coffee drank every year, this beverage is one of the most popular in the world.
We all know that coffee provides various benefits, but according to many studies, consuming this drink in moderate amounts and on a regular basis can reduce the risk of many liver diseases including fibrosis, cancer, and cirrhosis.
This delicious beverage has antioxidant properties and it’s really beneficial for the liver health. One research even questions its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. For optimal benefits of coffee, drink up to 2 or 3 cups a day, but avoid consuming it before going to bed.
Coffee and Liver Cirrhosis
The liver function is affected by the chronic liver disease called cirrhosis. In this condition, scar tissue replaces the healthy liver tissue which leads to blockage of the blood flow to this organ. About 1 million people die from this disease every year. Cirrhosis can be caused by hepatitis infections, excessive alcohol consumption, fatty liver disease, and immune disorders.
The Global Burden of Disease Study (2013) says that in 1990 there were 0.8 million deaths caused by cirrhosis, whereas in 2013 the number reached up to 1.2 million. Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics has published a 2016 meta-analysis which says that consuming 2 cups of coffee per day might help lower your risk of alcohol-related cirrhosis.
The meta-analysis included analysis of 9 different studies which investigated the relation between consumption of coffee and the risk of cirrhosis. The 9 studies involved 432 133 participants, 1990 cases, and they were published between 1994 and 2015. 8 of these studies showed that 2 cups of coffee a day drastically reduces the risk of cirrhosis. Coffee prevents the growth of connective tissue and thus postpones the development of liver cirrhosis, thanks to the paraxanthine substance which is produced with the metabolism of caffeine in coffee.
Coffee and Liver Cancer
According to The American Cancer Society, there will be 39,230 new cases of liver cancer in America in 2016, and approximately 27,170 sufferers will die from this type of cancer in 2016. This type of cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths on a global level. Consumption of 2 cups of coffee a day will reduce your risk of liver cancer. This beverage includes about 100 active compounds which reduce the risk of liver cancer. Some of them are polyphenols, antioxidants, and caffeine. Liver enzymes are as well affected by the coffee.
The International Journal of Cancer has published a 2005 study which for the first time stated that the consumption of coffee is closely related to reduced risk of liver cancer. Gastroenterology has published another meta-analysis in 2007, according to which increased coffee consumption can lower the risk of liver cancer, or more exactly, 2 cups of coffee per day can reduce the risk of liver cancer by 44%. Similarly, BMC Gastroenterology has published a 2013 study which suggests inverse relation between liver cancer and consumption of coffee.
Coffee and Hepatitis C
This beverage is beneficial even for hepatitis C. More than 130 to 150 million people suffer from chronic hepatitis C, according to WHO. This disease is contagious and causes infection and inflammation of the liver in different range of severity. There’s acute and chronic hepatitis, and there’s no vaccination to prevent this disease.
Hepatology has published a 2009 study which involved analysis of 766 patients with hepatitis C in the period of 4 years. It was discovered that regular consumption of coffee drastically reduced the rates of progression of the disease.
The Journal of Hepatology has published a 2011 study which involved 238 treatment-naïve patients with CHC (chronic hepatitis C). The study discovered that the caffeine’s hepatoprotective properties effectively protect against chronic liver diseases. Intake of caffeine greater than 3 cups of coffee a day (408 mg) is related to decreased histological activity in patients with chronic hepatitis C.
The PLOS One journal has published a 2013 hospital-based group study which involved 376 hepatitis C virus patients. Researchers investigated the effect of coffee intake on the levels of ALT (serum alanine aminotransferase) in these patients for a period of 1 year. After this period, it was discovered that consumption of filtered coffee on a daily basis positively affects the stabilization of the levels of ALT.
Coffee and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
When fat accumulates in the liver for reason different than alcohol consumption, it can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. This condition is quite common, and with the right dietary and lifestyle changes it can be successfully reversed. One such dietary change is consumption of 2 cups of coffee a day.
Digestive Disease and Sciences has published a 2010 study which compared 137 nonalcoholic fatty liver disease patients, with 108 other patients. The study discovered that the coffee consumption positively affects the higher degree of bright liver (measured by ultrasound scan), together with obesity and insulin resistance.
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics has published a 2012 study which shows that caffeine has a protective features in nonalcoholic fatty liver patients. The Annals of Hepatology has published a 2012 study according to which lower grade nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is affected by the caffeine’s peripheral antioxidant activity.
A recent meta-analysis published in 2016 in Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology involved 118 studies and has discovered that even though the total intake of caffeine isn’t related to the hepatic fibrosis or prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, the regular consumption of coffee caffeine might drastically lower the hepatic fibrosis in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease patients.
Moderate consumption of coffee provides the following potential health benefits:
- Reduces the risk of colorectal cancer
- Lowers the risk of premature death
- Reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis
- Protects against diabetes type 2
- Helps in burning fat and losing weight
- Improves mood and fighting depression
- Improves the physical performance
- Lowers the risk of skin cancer
Keep in mind that you will get these benefits if your drink coffee in moderate amounts, which is not more than 3 cups a day. Excessive coffee consumption can cause anxiety, insomnia, high cholesterol, and restlessness. Pregnant women should also avoid coffee.