August 11, 2015
2 min read

Study shows caffeine decreases risk of hepatic fibrosis in male HCV patients

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In a cross-sectional study, researchers found that coffee and caffeine were associated with a decreased risk of developing advanced hepatic fibrosis among a majority of male veterans with hepatitis C virus infection, according to study data.

Researchers, including Hashem B. El-Serag, MD, MPH, of Baylor College of Medicine and Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, analyzed data of 910 veterans with chronic HCV infection and evaluated each person’s daily intake of caffeinated and decaffeinated beverages, including coffee, tea and soda. The daily intakes of these beverages among the cohort were evaluated to determine any association with hepatic fibrosis through the FibroSURE test (BioPredictive, Paris, France). In addition, the researchers sought to determine the role insulin resistance played in any type of association between the drinks and fibrosis.

“Other studies have shown that insulin resistance worsens hepatic inflammation in HCV patients, and that the protective effect of coffee, at least in part, may be a consequence of coffee intake-associated reduction in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus,” the researchers wrote. “Few studies have examined the effect of coffee, as well as caffeine intake from non-coffee beverages, on the severity of liver fibrosis in patients with untreated chronic HCV infection after adjustment for insulin resistance and diabetes status.”

Among the patients, 97.6% were male and FibroSure test scores confirmed that 342 patients had advanced fibrosis (37.6%) and 568 had mild fibrosis (62.4%).

Patients used as controls showed a higher daily intake of caffeinated coffee compared with patients with advanced fibrosis (1.37 vs. 1.05 cups/per day; P = .038). However, daily intake of caffeinated tea (0.61 vs. 0.56 cups/per day; P = .651) or soda (1.14 vs. 0.95 cans/per day; P = .106) were not different between the two groups.

More control patients consumed 100 mg or more of caffeine daily from all sources compared with patients with advanced fibrosis (P = .014). A larger proportion of the controls’ caffeine intake came from coffee compared with the patients with advanced fibrosis (50.2% vs. 43%; P = .035).

“The average daily intake of coffee in prior life decades was higher in mild fibrosis controls than in advanced fibrosis cases, but none of these differences reached statistical significance,” the researchers wrote. “We also did not find a difference between cumulative years or lifetime consumption of coffee drinking between cases and controls.”

The researchers also found that hepatoprotective effects of patients with an average daily intake of 100 mg or more of caffeine (P = .020) and 1 cup or more of caffeinated tea by non-coffee drinkers (P = .028) remained even after adjusting for insulin resistance, and other confounders.

“We found that self-reported coffee drinking and caffeine consumption from beverages were associated with a lower risk of advanced hepatic fibrosis in patients with chronic HCV but had no association with degree of hepatic inflammation,” the researchers wrote. “An average daily intake of an estimated 100 mg of caffeine from coffee, tea, or soda was associated with an approximately one-third reduction in odds of advanced fibrosis, although higher intake did not seem to confer any additional benefit.”

The researchers concluded: “Additional research is needed to confirm these findings in women and in people with other chronic liver disease.” – by Melinda Stevens

Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.