Coffee Lovers, Drink Up: Morning Beverage Decreases the Risk of Cirrhosis

First Posted: Apr 03, 2014 01:16 PM EDT

If you're already a coffee lover, there's more good news brewing. A recent study conducted by researchers from Singapore shows that putting a little pep in your step could help to reverse the adverse effects of alcohol. In other words, coffee consumption could decrease the risk of cirrhosis--a scarring of the liver that can hinder the organ's function. Findings showed that drinking two more 'cups of joe' a day could help to reduce the risk of death from this health problem by up to 66 percent.

"Prior evidence suggests that coffee may reduce liver damage in patients with chronic liver disease," said Woon-Puay Koh, researcher from the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore and the National University of Singapore, via Medical News Today. "Our study examined the effects of consuming coffee, alcohol, black tea, green tea, and soft drinks on risk of mortality from cirrhosis."

Researchers recruited 63,275 Chinese participants between the ages of 45 and 74 living in Singapore. All participants were asked to provide information regarding their dietary habits, lifestyle choices and general medical history. In-person interviews were also conducted between 1993 and 1998. All patients were followed for an average of 15 years.

Findings showed that 24 percent of the participants died with liver cirrhosis responsible for the death of 114 individuals. The mean age of death was 67. Further research showed that those who drank at least 20 grams of ethanol daily had a greater risk of cirrhosis mortality compared to non-drinkers. Yet coffee intake was associated with a lower risk of death from non-viral hepatitis related cirrhosis. 

"Our study is the first to demonstrate a difference between the effects of coffee on non-viral and viral hepatitis related cirrhosis mortality," Koh added. "Our finding suggests that while the benefit of coffee may be less apparent in the Asian population where chronic viral hepatitis B predominates currently, this is expected to change as the incidence of non-viral hepatitis related cirrhosis is expected to increase in these regions, accompanying the increasing affluence and westernizing lifestyles amongst their younger populations."

In conclusion. Head to Starbucks. Now.

More information regarding the findings can be seen via the journal Hepatology.   

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