Posted on Oct 27, 2014, 6 a.m.
Study results suggest that drinking caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee may benefit liver health.
Drinking 3 or more cups of coffee each day may help to keep the liver healthy, new research suggests. Dr. Qian Xiao, of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues used data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES, 1999-2010) to investigate the effects of coffee consumption on liver function. The study population included 27,793 participants, aged 20-years or older, who provided coffee intake in a 24-hour period. Blood levels of several markers of liver function, including aminotransferase (ALT), aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and gamma glutamyl transaminase (GGT) were measured in order to determine liver health. Results showed that participants who reported drinking 3 or more cups of coffee per day had lower levels of ALT, AST, ALP and GGT compared to those who did not drink coffee. Low levels of the liver enzymes were also recorded in participants drinking only decaffeinated coffee, suggesting that chemical compounds in coffee other than caffeine may help to protect the liver. This is not the first study to suggest that coffee may have health benefits, previous studies have found that drinking coffee may help to lower the risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.
Xiao Q, Sinha R, Graubard BI, Freedman ND. Inverse associations of total and decaffeinated coffee with liver enzyme levels in NHANES 1999-2010. Hepatology. 2014 Aug 13. [Epub ahead of print].