Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. Yet, there are many contradictory scientific results on both risks and benefits of this beverage.
A recent study from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Southampton has found that all types of coffee may reduce the risk of liver conditions, such as liver cancer, fatty liver disease, and chronic liver disease. The research is published in the BMC Public Health journal.
There were nearly 495,000 participants in the projects, who were in the study for an average of almost 10 years and 8 months. Of these people, around 385,000 drank coffee regularly, including instant, ground, decaf, and caffeinated coffee. The others were not and served as the control group.
During this period, the authors recorded 301 deaths caused by chronic liver disease, 184 people with hepatocellular carcinoma, 5439 people with fatty or chronic liver disease, and 3600 people with chronic liver disease.
The results show that the risk of chronic liver disease in coffee drinkers was up to 21 percent lower. The numbers for hepatocellular carcinoma and fatty liver disease were 21 percent and 19 percent, respectively. More importantly, consuming coffee may reduce the risk of death by liver disease up to 49 percent.
The benefits were observed even greater in those who consumed ground coffee.
The authors of the study claimed that coffee would help in the early stages of liver illnesses when a pathogen starts to cause inflammation of the liver.
Coffee may affect the process of scarring the tissue as well. This could benefit people with cirrhosis or advanced scarred tissue.
A limitation of this study is that the sample only included people from white groups and with high socioeconomic backgrounds. Therefore, the results may not be applied universally.
Some scientists also believe that the findings do not mean that coffee can be a way to prevent or treat liver illnesses.
However, the authors of the study were still enthusiastic about the findings.
It is important to note that the research does not deal with the reason why coffee benefits the liver. The next step would be randomized controlled clinical triggers that examine different coffee molecules against liver illnesses.
Since coffee is a very popular drink, the benefits from this study would suggest many treatment options or preventative measures for people with liver issues. It is especially helpful in developing countries where people lack access to healthcare.