According to a new study, drinking more than three cups of caffeinated coffee per day is associated with fewer liver problems.
The study is likely the most rigors examination of the benefits of coffee on liver health conducted in the United States to date. It was constructed using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which elicited information about people’s eating and drinking habits.
“This is the closest we’re ever going to get to establishing a link between what people eat or drink and their liver health, short of conducting a longitudinal study in which we follow people for many, many years,” said Elliot Tapper, MD, assistant professor of gastroenterology at the University of Michigan and the study’s senior author.
The researchers analysed data from approximately 4,500 patients who participated in the survey between 2017 and 2018. The participants were aged 20 or older, with an average age of 48; 73% were overweight, which is consistent with the national average.
There was no correlation between coffee consumption and a measure of fatty liver, the researchers discovered. However, they discovered a connection between coffee and liver stiffness.
Those who drank more than three cups of coffee daily had a lower kilopascal value for liver stiffness. A stiffness of the liver greater than 9.5 kilopascals is indicative of liver fibrosis, which can progress to cirrhosis.
Tapper stated that the data will reassure physicians who recommend coffee consumption to patients.
“There are hepatologists active in recommending coffee around the world – they will feel empowered by these data,” he said. “I would still like to see additional… data before I begin counselling patients about coffee.” There are numerous additional data-driven interventions for the management of liver disease on which we should concentrate our efforts.”
Nonetheless, he stated, the data will be critical for patients with a particular interest in natural remedies.