Coffee brings a variety of health benefits. For the sake of your liver, it’s not just coffee but any form of caffeine that provides a “perk,” so to speak.
Readers might recall several of my past blogs touching on the benefits of coffee for those with hepatitis C. Past research shows that coffee slows disease progression in chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, and infection with the hepatitis C virus. Drinking coffee over the course of a lifetime protects against the development of liver cancer. The benefits lie in coffee’s ability to lower liver enzymes and preserve liver function. In fact, as I wrote in the blog Give Your Liver a Cup of Coffee a few years ago: “heavy coffee drinkers (3+ cups a day) achieve better sustained viral response to hepatitis C treatment than non-coffee drinkers. So not only is it okay to enjoy your favorite coffee during hepatitis C treatment, it’s even preferable.”
The latest coffee research finds that drinking coffee regularly (as well as other caffeinated beverages) leads to less chance of liver scarring. People don’t need to be caffeine fiends to get this benefit; even just 100 milligrams of caffeine daily (the amount found in one cup of coffee) lowers liver scarring risk by one-third. More caffeine doesn’t provide extra benefits, indicating that caffeine has a threshold effect on liver health.
This current research was based on a study of 910 adults with chronic hepatitis C infection. Using this population made sense since they have a high risk of liver scarring. Liver scarring is a concern, since it leads to liver cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer.
Khalaf N, White D, Kanwal, et al. Coffee and caffeine are associated with decreased risk of advanced hepatic fibrosis among patients with hepatitis C. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2015. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2015.01.030
Jang ES, Jeong SH, Lee SH, et al. The effect of coffee consumption on the development of hepatocellular carcinoma in hepatitis B virus endemic area. Liver International 2013;33(7):1092-9.