Could Coffee Help Protect Your Liver From Alcohol?

Another noteworthy benefit has been added to the list of perks that coffee may have for your health. New research has found that drinking your daily java may help protect your liver from alcohol-related cirrhosis.

While a little bit of alcohol may actually be healthy, we all know that overdoing it on the spirits is extremely dangerous in a number of ways. One effect of excessive alcohol consumption is the potential for liver cirrhosis, a condition characterized by liver scarring, which can lead the liver to fail.

Another beverage that has been linked to a lot of health benefits — without the detriments — is coffee. Coffee may help to boost metabolism and brain power, as well as potentially lower type 2 diabetes risk, among many other perks. 

So how are alcohol and coffee connected? A recent study has found that two cups of coffee per day may reduce one’s risk of alcohol-related liver cirrhosis by up to 43 percent.

On coffee, the authors of the new study, published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, wrote: “Coffee comprises over a thousand compounds, many of which are biologically active and may affect human health. These include caffeine, chlorogenic acid, melanoids and the pentacyclic diterpenes, kahweol and cafestol… The biological effects of coffee include stimulation of the central nervous system, primarily by caffeine, the attenuation of oxidative stress and inflammation, and anti-carcinogenesis… In the context of liver disease, coffee appears to confer a number of protective effects.”

While previous research has shown associations between coffee and liver protection, this new study wanted to make a more large-scale analysis. The researchers involved in the study gathered data from nine previous studies on the subject of coffee and cirrhosis risk, and analysed the results. 

Results of the analysis, which included over 430,000 study participants, showed that one cup of coffee per day correlated with a 22 percent decrease in the risk of developing alcohol-related cirrhosis. Two cups was associated with a 43 percent decrease in risk, and three cups added up to a 57 percent decrease in risk. 

Four cups of coffee per day was found to correlate with a whopping 65 percent decrease in the risk of developing this condition.

The study authors summarized: “This meta-analysis suggests that increasing coffee consumption may substantially reduce the risk of cirrhosis.” 

This study did have some limitations. For one thing, only alcohol-related cirrhosis was analyzed. Cases of liver cirrhosis triggered by other factors, such as obesity, were not taken into account — future research shall have to address whether coffee offers the same protective potential in these cases. 

Also, the type of coffee that the analysis participants drank was not studied in detail, so it is unclear from this study whether one type of coffee (or brewing preparation) may be more beneficial than other types of liver cirrhosis.

As to why coffee may offer such substantial protection to the liver, researchers are still not entirely sure. However, the authors of this study do hypothesize that the wealth of antioxidants found in coffee — which have significant anti-inflammatory properties — may be a factor.

So while it’s still obviously not safe to go binge drinking and expect coffee to shield your liver from all harm, we now have yet another reason to feel good about our morning brew! As far as brewing the healthiest cup of coffee, start with organic, fair-trade coffee beans, and skip the sugar and artificial creamers! 

Black is great, organic cream or coconut milk makes a yummy addition, and if you like it sweeter, try some organic coconut crystals. For more coffee-boosting tips, check out these ways to supercharge your coffee and make your mornings shine!

-Tanya Rakhmilevich

Tanya is a writer at The Alternative Daily with a passion for meditation, music, poetry, and overall creative and active living. She has a special interest in exploring traditional Eastern remedies and superfoods from around the globe, and enjoys spending time immersed in nature.


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