Could Coffee Prevent Cirrhosis?
Coffee is a well-known remedy when it comes to helping with hangovers. Now, a new study suggests it could help with serious long-term damage from alcohol. Researchers at the University of Southampton in Britain says data shows that drinking more coffee may reduce the risk of developing cirrhosis, a disease of the liver associated with alcohol abuse.
“This is an interesting development,” says Robin Kim, M.D. a specialist in liver disease for University of Utah Health Care. “However, I think more research needs to be done before we can say there is a ‘fix’ for a very serious condition.”
One of the problems with the new report is that it is based on research using historical data – most of which was self-reported by the subjects. “The researchers can say the likelihood of cirrhosis declined 65% with four cups of coffee a day,” says Kim. “Until that is proven in clinical trials, we really can’t say if it’s true.”
There are also questions about what in coffee could be responsible for protecting the liver. The researchers behind the study are even questioning if it could have something to do with the specific brewing methods participants used. There is some speculation it may have to do with antioxidants in the beans, though that is unclear.
Alcohol abuse is not the only cause of cirrhosis, and the study points out drinking coffee is not likely to help with other contributing factors. “Hepatitis and immune conditions can lead to cirrhosis,” says Kim. “Diabetes and obesity can also contribute to the illness. Adding coffee to your diet will do nothing to help with these.”
Kim says that in the end, the way to protect your liver isn’t to drink more coffee but to live a healthier lifestyle. “Don’t overdo it on the alcohol,” he says. “Maintain a healthy weight and stay active. Not only will you cut your risk of cirrhosis, but you will improve your life overall.”
About the author:
Libby Mitchell is the Social Media Coordinator for University of Utah Health Care. Follow her on Twitter @LibbyMitchellUT.comments powered by Disqus