Drinking at least two cups of coffee a day could nearly halve your risk of developing liver cirrhosis down the line, especially if you tend to overindulge in alcohol, according to new findings published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics and reported by Quartz.
Liver cirrhosis, or scarring, can be caused by a variety of factors, including viral hepatitis infections, excessive alcohol consumption, immune disorders and fatty liver disease, a condition linked to obesity and diabetes. Previous research has shown that coffee may help prevent scarring in people with hepatitis C virus (HCV). However, for this new study, researchers looked at the effects of how coffee could help mitigate the risk of developing liver disease from all causes.
In their paper, U.K. scientists at Southampton University analyzed research from nine previous studies on the links between coffee and liver disease, compiling the health data of 430,000 people, 1,990 of which had cirrhosis. Notably, all of the studies accounted for daily alcohol consumption. In eight of the nine studies, two cups of coffee per day was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of liver scarring.
Specifically, the compiled research paper estimated that the risk of developing cirrhosis was 22 percent lower in patients who drank one cup of coffee per day, 43 percent lower after two cups, 57 percent lower after three cups and 67 percent lower after four cups.
Study authors did not say exactly how coffee might provide such protection, although they did note that the morning staple may help protect the liver against inflammation and fibrosis, which can lead to cirrhosis down the line.
The paper also cited previous animal studies showing that caffeine can help protect against toxin-induced liver fibrosis. Researchers also mentioned recent research into scores of other anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory compounds that can be found within coffee.