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Drinking coffee of any type cuts risk for liver problems, study says

Drinking up to three or four cups of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee a day reduces your risk of developing and dying from chronic liver diseases, a new s...

Posted: Jun 21, 2021 10:29 PM

Drinking up to three or four cups of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee a day reduces your risk of developing and dying from chronic liver diseases, a new study found.

Coffee drinkers were 21% less likely to develop chronic liver disease, 20% less likely to develop chronic or fatty liver disease, and 49% less likely to die from chronic liver disease than non-coffee drinkers, according to the study published Monday in the journal BMC Public Health.

"Coffee is widely accessible, and the benefits we see from our study may mean it could offer a potential preventative treatment for chronic liver disease," said study author Dr. Oliver Kennedy, who is on the medical faculty of the University of Southampton in the UK, in a statement.

"This would be especially valuable in countries with lower income and worse access to healthcare and where the burden of chronic liver disease is highest," Kennedy said.

Liver cancer on rise

Risk factors for liver disease include drinking alcohol, obesity, diabetes, smoking, hepatitis B and C infections, and having nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which is the buildup of extra fat in liver cells that is not caused by alcohol.

Diagnoses of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which strikes people who are obese, overweight, or who have diabetes, high cholesterol or high triglycerides, have more than doubled over the past 20 years, according to the American Liver Foundation, affecting up to 25% of Americans.

The rate of liver cancer has more than tripled between 1980 and today, "while the death rates have more than doubled," according to the American Cancer Society.

Causes of liver cancer include diabetes and nonalcoholic liver disease, as well as excessive drinking or hepatitis B and C infections.

Diagnoses of liver cancer have been on the rise globally for decades -- a 2018 study found a 75% increase in cases worldwide between 1990 and 2015.

Liver cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide, according to the World Cancer Research Fund, with some 83% of cases occurring in less developed countries, especially those in Asia and Africa. Survival rates are poor because there are no early symptoms, so many cases of liver cancer are quite advanced at the time of diagnosis.

Large study, but only one point in time

The study examined coffee consumption among 494,585 participants of the UK Biobank, a biomedical database and research resource, and then followed them for nearly a dozen years.

While the maximum benefit was seen in the group who drank ground caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee, instant coffee drinkers also saw some benefits. Ground coffee has higher levels of kahweol and cafestol, two antioxidants found in coffee beans that have been shown in studies to have anti-inflammatory properties. Cafestol, however, has also been shown to increase bad cholesterol, or LDL (low-density lipoproteins).

This is not the first study to find health benefits from coffee. A study published in February found drinking one or more cups of black, caffeinated coffee a day was associated with a long-term reduced risk of heart failure.

Coffee's also been shown to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, prostate cancer, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, melanoma and other skin cancers, and reduce levels of coronary artery calcium. And a prior study by Kennedy found that drinking coffee reduced the risk of hepatocellular cancer, the most common form of liver cancer.

The Harvard Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which began in 1986, and the Nurses' Health Study, which started in 1976, have been following the coffee consumption habits of healthy men and women for decades.

"We did not find any relationship between coffee consumption and increased risk of death from any cause, death from cancer, or death from cardiovascular disease. Even people who drank up to six cups of coffee per day were at no higher risk of death," wrote Dr. Rob van Dam of Harvard's School of Health.

Careful of additives

Most studies are done on drinking black coffee. However, many people add dairy, sugars, flavors or nondairy creamers that are high in calories, added sugar and fat. That likely negates any heart-healthy benefits, warns the American Heart Association.

Also, a cup of coffee is only 8 ounces in most studies; the standard "grande" or large cup at some coffee shops is double that at 16 ounces.

Caffeine can be dangerous if consumed in excess by certain populations, research has shown. High levels of coffee consumption (more than 4 cups) during pregnancy was associated with low birth weight, preterm birth and stillbirths in a 2017 study.

Past studies also suggested people with sleep issues or uncontrolled diabetes should check with a doctor before adding caffeine to their diets.

And, of course, these benefits do not apply to kids. Children and adolescents should not drink colas, coffees, energy drinks or other beverages with any amount of caffeine, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 947918

Reported Deaths: 15377
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1291181990
Lake635721103
Allen53899761
Hamilton44082449
St. Joseph42122590
Elkhart33803491
Vanderburgh30574449
Tippecanoe26915251
Johnson23727418
Hendricks22410342
Porter21832347
Clark17562231
Madison17492385
Vigo16302285
Monroe14545191
LaPorte14389239
Delaware14183222
Howard13971273
Kosciusko11498135
Hancock10935166
Warrick10737178
Bartholomew10635170
Floyd10514208
Wayne10077226
Grant9213204
Morgan8928160
Boone8463111
Dubois7791123
Dearborn769490
Henry7691133
Noble7466101
Marshall7409128
Cass7219118
Lawrence7026153
Shelby6647111
Jackson661386
Gibson6190107
Harrison609386
Huntington604495
Montgomery5853105
DeKalb581091
Knox5535104
Miami548888
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Whitley529354
Steuben501768
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Jasper483861
Jefferson474492
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Scott409165
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Wells389884
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Posey362341
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Blackford170534
Pulaski168551
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Newton145845
Benton143916
Brown135846
Martin130217
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Warren115616
Union98511
Ohio80511
Unassigned0482

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1385749

Reported Deaths: 21820
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1538881574
Cuyahoga1358332341
Hamilton987081326
Montgomery679671161
Summit568451051
Lucas51531869
Butler48000663
Stark42232983
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Warren30404338
Mahoning27463643
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Lake24809422
Delaware22566147
Licking20767246
Fairfield20730223
Greene20611275
Trumbull20257516
Medina20074290
Clark18170332
Richland16680236
Portage16389231
Wood15926209
Allen14333261
Miami14018261
Muskingum12927155
Wayne12185244
Columbiana11980242
Tuscarawas11204271
Marion10908150
Pickaway10606129
Scioto10531127
Erie9864171
Ross9612177
Lawrence8934125
Hancock8603143
Ashtabula8474187
Geauga8251156
Belmont8236188
Jefferson7691175
Huron7537131
Union742651
Washington7380126
Athens709365
Sandusky6963135
Darke6875137
Knox6812122
Seneca6519137
Ashland6051115
Auglaize595388
Shelby5820104
Brown575372
Mercer565190
Defiance5564101
Crawford5563117
Madison551071
Highland549282
Fulton542583
Clinton533781
Logan518687
Preble5102111
Putnam4900107
Guernsey484364
Williams468982
Perry462254
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Ottawa442484
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Pike398345
Morrow396451
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Adams369275
Hardin366170
Gallia355458
Holmes3321111
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Van Wert320771
Hocking310770
Wyandot285458
Carroll266352
Paulding246443
Meigs221742
Monroe192749
Noble174142
Morgan170029
Harrison160741
Vinton141319
Unassigned05
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