Perspective from Shreya Sengupta, MD
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Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
August 17, 2020
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Increased coffee intake could avert deaths from liver disease

Perspective from Shreya Sengupta, MD
Source/Disclosures
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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Increasing per capita coffee consumption on a population level has the potential to avert liver disease-related deaths, according to study results.

Sarah Gardner, MBBS, of the liver transplant unit at The Austin Hospital in Australia, and colleagues wrote that previous studies have indicated that coffee offers at least some protection against liver disease.

“[Previous research] demonstrated a 46% reduction in death from liver cirrhosis for people assessed at study entry as drinking [two to three cups per day]; and a 71% reduction in death from cirrhosis in those consuming [four] or more cups daily,” they wrote. “The potential global health impact of coffee intake being advocated as a liver health therapy has not previously been explored and mathematical modelling is one way of exploring the potential impact of novel population-level interventions.”

Researchers modelled the impact of increased per capita coffee consumption on liver-related mortality using the Global Burden of Disease 2016 dataset. They tested their model assumptions by using published risk ratios for greater than two cups of coffee per day (RR = 0.54; 95% CI, 0.42-0.69) and at least 4 cups of coffee per day (RR = 0.29; 95% CI, 0.17-0.5).

Worldwide in 2016, there were an estimated 1,240,201 adult liver-related deaths with a median global liver mortality rate of 15 deaths per 100,000 population per year.

Gardner and colleagues found that if all countries that had a per capita coffee intake of no more than two cups per day increased that intake to more than two cups per day, the predicted total number of liver-related deaths would have been 630,947 in 2016 (95% CI, 629,693-631,861) with 452,861 deaths averted (95% CI, 451,948-454,116).

If per capita coffee consumption increased to at least four cups per day, the predicted number of liver-related deaths would have been 360,523 (95% CI, 359,825-361,992) in 2016 with 723,287 deaths averted (95% CI, 721,817-723,984).

“If the impact of coffee on liver-related mortality shown in cohort studies is confirmed in clinical trials, increasing per capita coffee consumption to more than two cups per capita per day on a population level has the potential to avert hundreds of thousands of deaths from liver disease annually,” Gardner and colleagues wrote. “Further research is urgently needed to confirm the benefits and cost-effectiveness of coffee on liver-related mortality.”