Drinking coffee may reduce the risk of chronic liver disease, especially in patients with other conditions affecting the liver, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, according to a new study. But more studies are required to confirm the findings.
The study, titled “Coffee Drinking And Alcoholic And Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Diseases And Viral Hepatitis In The Multiethnic Cohort,” was published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
Chronic liver disease may be associated with chronic hepatitis C (CHC), alcoholic liver disease (ALD), and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). While previous studies have shown that coffee consumption may decrease the severity of liver disease, these were conducted mainly in CHC patients. Less is known about the benefits of coffee in patients with other health issues associated with liver disease.
To investigate the link between coffee consumption and chronic liver disease, with and without cirrhosis, researchers followed 5,385 patients from the Multiethnic Cohort (MEC, a study that included African-Americans, Native Hawaiians, Japanese Americans, Latinos, and Caucasians). Participants were enrolled in the Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) and completed questionnaires on coffee intake and confounders.
This group (mean age 61 years) included 1,112 patients with ALD, 2,786 patients with NALFD, 606 patients with CHC, 156 patients with chronic hepatitis B, 359 patients with cryptogenic cirrhosis, and 357 patients with other liver-related diseases. Data was compared to that of control participants without chronic liver disease, matched according to age, gender, ethnicity, and length of FFS enrollment.
Coffee intake was measured according to five possible scenarios: Never, less than one cup daily, one cup daily, two-three cups daily, and at least four cups daily.
Results indicated that risk of chronic liver disease with ALS, NAFLD, and CHC was reduced with increasing coffee consumption. Associations of coffee and ADL and CHC were mainly observed in those with cirrhosis.
Researchers also observed that in patients with NAFLD-associated chronic liver disease, a significant trend was seen for both cirrhosis and non-cirrhosis cases. No association was found between coffee drinking and chronic liver disease or cirrhosis due to other diseases (such as CHB). Also, there was no evidence that the coffee associations with ALD, NAFLD, and CHC varied by ethnicity.
“In conclusion, coffee drinking is associated with reduced CLD risk, particularly for NAFLD, ALD, and CHC, including cirrhosis,” the researchers wrote. “We propose that randomized controlled trials should be entertained, in particular in NAFLD patients where coffee consumption seems to affect the entire disease process and no treatments are currently available.”