March 14, 2017
2 min read

Coffee consumption associated with reduced risk for chronic liver disease

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Recent study data revealed an association between coffee consumption and a reduced risk for developing chronic liver disease, particularly in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, alcoholic liver disease and chronic hepatitis C.

“Coffee consumption has been inversely associated with [chronic liver disease (CLD)] severity, but studies were mainly conducted in [chronic hepatitis C (CHC)] while fewer studies have been done in other etiologies,” Veronica Wendy Setiawan, PhD, of the department of preventive medicine and the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and colleagues wrote. “Our findings support data from studies showing the effect of coffee on liver enzyme reduction and the association of increased coffee consumption with reduced histological activity, in particular fibrosis in CHC.”

The study comprised 5,385 patients from the Multiethnic Cohort study. The patients had enrolled in the Medicare fee-for-service program and had completed questionnaires on coffee intake and confounders.

Patient diagnoses included ALD (n = 1,112), NALFD (n = 2,786), CHC (n = 606), chronic hepatitis B (n = 165), cryptogenic cirrhosis (n = 359) or other liver-related disease (n = 357). Mean patient age was 61 years, 44% of the patients were men, and ethnicities included Japanese-American (38%), white (23%), Latino (22%), African-American (12%) and Native Hawaiian (5%).

Researchers categorized coffee intake as less than one cup daily, one cup daily, two to three cups daily and four or more cups daily. Patients were matched with controls by age, sex, ethnicity and length of fee-for-service enrollment.

Data showed an association between coffee consumption and a reduced risk for ALD (P = .0015) and CHC (P = .0241), and specifically ALD (P < .0001) and CHC (P = .0215) with cirrhosis. The results further showed an association between coffee consumption and NALFD in both cirrhosis (P = .0484) and non-cirrhosis cases (P = .0018). Researchers found no evidence that coffee association varied by ethnicity. There was no association found between coffee drinking and CLD or cirrhosis due to other etiologies.

“Our data also suggest a possible effect of coffee intake on the fibrosis process in ALD and CHC and an effect of coffee on multiple pathways in NAFLD, possibly including inflammatory, steatotic and fibrotic processes. The effect of coffee on fibrosis may be mediated by adenosine receptors. It is possible that coffee constituents have a direct effect on steatosis or steatohepatitis pathways,” 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.” – by Talitha Bennett

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.