Frequent coffee, chocolate consumption reduced liver enzymes in HIV/HCV coinfected patients

Carrieri MP. J Hepatol. 2013;doi:10.1016/j.jhep.2013.08.014.

  • August 29, 2013

Patients coinfected with HIV and HCV who reported eating chocolate daily and drinking three or more cups of coffee a day had lower levels of ALT and AST than those who consumed fewer polyphenol-rich foods in a recent study.

Researchers evaluated data collected from 990 adult patients coinfected with HCV and HIV enrolled in the ANRS CO13 HEPAVIH prospective cohort study. Patients with cirrhosis had follow-up visits every 6 months, while noncirrhotic participants had annual visits, with liver biochemistry assessed at each visit. Participants also responded to annual self-administered questionnaires regarding sociodemographic status and dietary and drug habits.

Elevated AST and ALT counts, defined as more than 2.5 times the upper limit of normal, were observed in 13% and 17% of patients, respectively, at baseline. Over the course of the study, elevated AST was observed in 15.86% of the cohort, while elevated ALT occurred in 11.94%.

Patients who reported daily chocolate consumption and coffee intake of three or more cups per day were significantly less likely to have high ALT levels (OR=0.65, 0.43-0.97 for coffee and OR=0.57, 0.33-0.98 for chocolate consumption), after adjustment for alcohol consumption, HCV clearance and CD4 count. Those who consumed more coffee were also less likely to have elevated AST (OR=0.63, 0.4-0.99), but the association between chocolate consumption and high AST levels was not statistically significant (OR=0.58, 0.31-1.07) (95% CI for all).

Introduction of moderate red wine consumption into the analysis did not significantly alter results (OR=0.59, 0.42-0.82 for ALT and OR=0.52, 0.36-0.76 for AST), and tobacco use also had no impact on either outcome. A combination indicator for polyphenol-rich food intake including both coffee and chocolate consumption was significantly associated with risk reductions for high ALT and AST (OR=0.57, 0.4-0.82 for ALT and OR=0.54, 0.36-0.82 for AST) (95% CI for all).

“Polyphenols contained in coffee, but also in cocoa, may contribute to decrease liver enzymes levels, but these results need to be confirmed by further experimental and observational research,” researcher Patrizia Carrieri, PhD, French National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Marseilles, told “The role that polyphenol intake or supplementation can play in liver disease and liver injury may be an interesting topic needing appropriate assessment in clinical research.”

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.