Coffee may help lessen alcohol-induced liver damage: Study

Harmful drinking habits, including heavy and binge drinking, have been common in the United States. So, the country is not untouched by its deadly consequences. A 2014 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that during 2006-2010, excessive alcohol consumption was responsible for one in 10 deaths among working age adults between 20 and 64.

Changing patterns of alcohol consumption are gradually giving way to liver-related diseases. Years of heavy drinking, whether on a regular basis or limited to few days a week, can lead to inflammation in the liver. Cirrhosis occurs in the final phase of the alcohol liver disease where the condition of the patient can be so critical that it can lead to death. An estimated 18,146 people died due to alcohol-related liver disease in America alone in 2013, as per the CDC data released in 2015.

Benefits of coffee

A recent study, titled “Systematic review with meta-analysis: coffee consumption and the risk of cirrhosis,” has claimed that drinking just two cups of coffee can help reduce the chance of liver disease caused due to overconsumption of alcohol. The University of Southampton study was published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics in January 2016. It revealed that coffee, if regularly consumed, reduced the chance of liver cirrhosis by 44 percent.

For the purpose of the research, scientists identified five unit studies and four case-control studies comprising 1,990 cases and 432,133 participants. The studies that included odds ratios, relative risks or hazard ratios for cirrhosis classified by coffee consumption and published till July 2015 were taken into account. The findings of the study indicated that those who drank two cups of coffee regularly were less likely to suffer from liver cirrhosis. This comes in the light of the fact that approximately 1 million people die every year from conditions of liver failure that may be triggered because of extreme alcohol intake or hepatitis C infection.

The study indicated that increasing consumption of coffee by two cups per day was associated with a statistically significant reduction in the risk of cirrhosis. The study concluded, “This is a large effect compared to many medications used for prevention of the disease. Furthermore, unlike many medications, coffee is generally well tolerated and has an excellent safety profile.” The compounds contained in coffee, like caffeine, chlorogenic acid, melanoids and the pentacyclic diterpenes, kahweol and cafestol, stimulate the working of the central nervous system and diminish oxidative stress and inflammation and anti-carcinogenesis.

Epidemiology of cirrhosis

The findings are important in the light of the startling facts brought out by a study titled “The Epidemiology of Cirrhosis in the United States: A Population-based Study” in 2015. Published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, the study said 633,323 adults (approximately 0.27 percent) in the U.S. are suffering from cirrhosis with 69 percent unaware that they were suffering from the disease.

Assistant professor in the departments of Medicine (Hepatology) and Public Health Sciences of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and lead author of the study Dr. Steven Scaglione said, “Although some of these individuals may simply have forgotten or been confused about the question, this raises the possibility of a large number of undiagnosed cases of cirrhosis.”

The high incidence of liver diseases, coupled with spike in alcohol consumption, has made it necessary for researchers to conduct further probe.

Looking for recovery

Reinforcing the fact that many people in the country lost their lives due to excessive drinking in a short span of time, Ursula E. Bauer, Ph.D., M.P.H., Director, CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, said, “Excessive alcohol use is a leading cause of preventable death that kills many Americans in the prime of their lives.”

The myth that few pegs of alcohol or a pint of beer consumed every day does not harm has only resulted in more deaths in America due to alcohol than road accidents. We realize the gravity of the situation, so we are willing to help those who need it. Contact the Florida Alcohol Addiction Helpline if you or a loved one is struggling with drinking problem. Call our 24/7 helpline at 866-220-5381 or chat online for further information.