A new study seems to suggest that increasing coffee consumption may reduce the risk of developing liver cirrhosis, a disease that causes one million deaths per year, due to excessive consumption of alcohol and some types of food. According to statistics, the United States is the world’s largest single buyer of coffee in the world.

Results show that drinking two additional cups of coffee per day can reduce the risk of developing liver cirrhosis by 44 percent. Researchers from the Southampton University in the United Kingdom have analyzed data from more than 430,000 people, obtained from nine previously published studies.

Photo: LiveScience/Shutterstock
Photo: LiveScience/Shutterstock

“Cirrhosis is potentially fatal and there is no cure as such. Therefore, it is significant that the risk of developing cirrhosis may be reduced by consumption of coffee, a cheap, ubiquitous and well-tolerated beverage,” said lead study author Dr. Oliver Kennedy of Southampton University in the U.K to Reuters reporters.

Every year, cirrhosis kills more than one million people in the world. According to Mayo Clinic, cirrhosis is a late stage of fibrosis of the liver, which is caused by diseases and conditions such as hepatitis and chronic alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, the liver damage caused by cirrhosis can’t be undone, being a life-threatening condition.

According to statistics, American coffee consumers drink an average of 3 and a half cups of coffee every day. Dr. Oliver Kennedy said that in eight of the nine studies, results demonstrated that drinking two more of coffee cups per day was linked to a relevant reduction of the risk of developing the damaging condition.

Findings suggest that just drinking a single cup of coffee per day can reduce the risk of developing cirrhosis by 22 percent. When the coffee consumption is increased to two cups per day, the risk declines to 43%. And more impressively, drinking four cups was linked to a 65% lower risk.

Coffee and science get along very well

That being said, more investigation needs to be done, since one study found that filtered coffee was more effective than boiled coffee to reduce the risk of cirrhosis. Also, the studies took into account alcohol consumption, but other relevant factors such as obesity and diabetes were not considered, wrote the authors in a study published in the Journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics on January 25.

Researchers emphasize that findings should not lead people to consume sugary beverages such as caramel lattes with whipped cream. Also, researchers have not specified how coffee can exactly help people to have a healthier liver.

Dr. Kennedy wrote to Reuters that coffee is a complex mixture that contains hundreds of chemical compounds and science has not been able to determine which of those chemicals is responsible for protecting the liver.

“An increase in daily coffee consumption of two cups is associated with a near halving of the risk of cirrhosis,” wrote the study authors. “Unlike many medications, coffee is generally well tolerated and has an excellent safety profile.”

More and more benefits

According to an article published in the Harvard Gazette, researchers have concluded that coffee consumption can be associated with a reduction of risks of getting type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression among women and Parkinson’s disease.

In 2014, researchers at the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health found that people who drank more than one cup of coffee over a four-year period had an 11 percent lower risk for type 2 diabetes, wrote reporters at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The same institution suggested a year before that drinking coffee could reduce the risk of suicide in men and women by about 50 percent.

Coffee consumption in the U.S.

Statistics seem to suggest that every year the United States imports $4 billion dollars’ worth of coffee. That being said, U.S. citizens drink more than 400 million cups of coffee every day, which can be translated as 146 billion cups of coffee per year. As a result, the United States is the largest consumer of coffee in the world.

“The retail value of the U.S. coffee market is estimated to be $48 billion dollars with specialty comprising approximately 55% value share,” wrote the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

Source: Reuters Health