Drinking 3 to 4 cups of coffee a day might reduce risk of liver cancer, study suggests
The maximum benefit was found in people who drank three to four cups a day. Drinking more didn’t show any added benefit.
Drinking three to four cups of coffee a day might help reduce the risk of liver cancer and other alcohol-related liver diseases, a study suggests.
Researchers looked at the coffee habits of more than 494,000 people in the UK Biobank, a biomedical database, and monitored their liver health over 11 years.
Participants ranged from 40 to 69 years old, with 384,818 saying they were avid coffee drinkers, and 109,767 saying they were not. People who drank ground caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee saw the most benefits. Some reduction in risks was also found in instant coffee drinkers.
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 of chronic liver disease than non-coffee drinkers, according to the study published in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Public Health.
“It confirms in a large UK cohort that coffee drinking is protective against severe liver disease,” said Prof Paul Roderick, a co-author of the study from the University of Southampton.
The maximum benefit was found in people who drank three to four cups a day; any higher consumption didn’t show additional benefits, according to the study.
The study doesn’t prove coffee reduces the risk of chronic liver disease.
“It does, however, raise the issue that it might be an effective intervention to prevent severe liver disease, say, in those at high risk,” Roderick said.
Vanessa Hebditch of the British Liver Trus, said the study offers further evidence that coffee is good for liver health.
“However, it’s important that people improve their liver health not just by drinking coffee,” she said, “but by also cutting down on alcohol and keeping to a healthy weight by exercising and eating well.”
One of the study’s limitations is that participants were asked only about their coffee consumption at one point , then monitored for their health. If someone changed daily coffee intake from one to four cups of coffee a day over the 11-year period, the researchers weren’t able to take that into account.
Liver cancer is the sixth-most-common cancer worldwide, according to the World Cancer Research Fund. The rate of liver cancer since 1980 has more than doubled, according to the American Cancer Society.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is most common in people who are overweight, have diabetes, high cholesterol or high triglycerides. The disease affects up to 25% of people in the United States, according to the American Liver Foundation
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