Have you ever overloaded on the booze? How about eating lots and lots of fatty foods? We all have! Next time, follow a hint of science: drink more coffee every day and protect your liver in these situations!
This is because scientists of Southampton University in the United Kingdom have found that the habit of drinking more coffee daily can help reduce liver injuries associated with excessive consumption of certain kinds of food and alcohol beverages.
Based on nine published studies and a total of more than 430,000 participants, the scientists concluded that drinking two additional cups of coffee per day might affect people and give them a 44% lower risk of developing liver cirrhosis.
How the study was organized:
The research team analyzed the average coffee consumption among previous studies with a total of 1,990 patients that had cirrhosis to test the result of adding two additional cups per day in the odds of develop liver disease.
In eight of the nine studies examined, the increase in coffee consumption was associated with a considerable reduction in the risk of cirrhosis – and this continued to decline as more cups of coffee were added to the daily diet of the participants.
Researchers estimated that having one cup of coffee a day can bring a 22% lower risk of cirrhosis; with two cups, the risk decrease to 43%; a decrease of 57% in the case of three cups; and 65% with four cups.
“Cirrhosis is potentially fatal and there is no cure for it,” said lead study author Dr. Oliver Kennedy. “Therefore, it is significant that the risk of developing cirrhosis may be reduced by consumption of coffee, a cheap, ubiquitous and well-tolerated beverage,” explained the doctor.
Just in 2013, cirrhosis resulted in 1.2 million deaths worldwide. Of these, excessive alcohol use caused 384,000, hepatitis C caused 358,000, and hepatitis B caused 317,000. In addition to these causes, the disease can also be a result of immune disorders and fatty liver disease, which is related to obesity and diabetes.
There are some counterpoints too!
As it happens with many studies, these results are not 100% clear. For example, one study found a relevant relation between coffee drinking and lower cirrhosis risk with filtered coffee rather than with boiled coffee.
And of course, we are not encouraging you to have dozens of mochas full of chocolate and sugar to prevent liver disease! According to Dr. Kennedy, it’s not clear exactly how the kind of beans or the way you brew them might lead to a healthier liver.
Let's remember that the coffee that we drink is a complex mixture that contains many different chemical compounds and we still don't know which of them might be responsible for preserving the liver.
Samantha Heller, a nutritionist at University Langone Medical Center in New York, doesn't really agree with the study. She says that, “Although coffee contains compounds that do have antioxidant effects and anti-inflammatory properties, drinking a few cups of coffee a day cannot undo the systematic damage that is the result of being overweight, obese, or sedentary, nor the effects of excessive alcohol consumption or a drastically unhealthy diet."
So it's very important to observe that some habits of your lifestyle can sorely damage the liver and it's not the abuse of coffee that will fix it. Coffee is good, but is not miraculous.