Regular consumption of coffee can reduce alcoholic liver damage

Excessive consumption of alcohol is associated with innumerable health disorders. Alcohol-related liver disease is one of the most life-threatening conditions that occur after years of heavy drinking. Although it is not possible to reverse the damage completely, an October 2016 study showed that the inherent risk of alcoholic hepatitis can be reduced if people in the high-risk category drank coffee regularly. Previous studies had also revealed the beneficial effects of coffee on liver health.

Cirrhosis is one of the most dangerous liver diseases caused by an injury to liver cells, whereas alcoholic cirrhosis is caused due to chronic alcohol abuse. The liver is one of the primary organs of the body. It is responsible for a host of functions ranging from metabolism to the breakdown and elimination of toxins and wastes left by alcohol and other toxic substances. It also secretes bile that helps in the breakdown of fats. When one consumes copious amounts of alcohol on a regular basis, fat builds on the liver cells. Deposition of fat in the liver cells disrupts the normal activities of the organ. If the person continues to drink for a prolonged period, it can be extremely dangerous to the liver, requiring an immediate liver transplant, in the absence of which death is certain.

Alcoholic hepatitis is inflammation of the liver and unless certain lifestyle changes are made, it could lead to liver cirrhosis. Acute alcoholic hepatitis is an extremely rare disease associated with high mortality in the short term.

Coffee and PNPLA3 G/G genotype

According to the study, heavy drinkers with a specific genotype carry a high risk for acute alcoholic hepatitis. Interestingly, the risk was found to reduce when such individuals drank coffee regularly. Elaborating on the complex interplay between the genotype and coffee drinking, Dr. Naga Chalasani, MD, Indiana University School of Medicine, said, ” There seems to be an interaction between the PNPLA3 genotype and coffee drinking — coffee drinking was protective, whereas the PNPLA3 G/G genotype was hazardous.”

As part of the study titled “Translational Research and Evolving Alcoholic Treatment (TREAT 001),” the researchers studied 189 patients with alcoholic hepatitis, along with a control group that had the same patterns of drinking. It was found that NPLA3 G/G genotype was more common in patients with acute alcoholic hepatitis than in the control group (34 percent vs. 22 percent). While G/G was considered to be a bad player, C/C was considered a good genotype.

The study focused on the following three important aspects:

  • For people with the PNPLA3 C/C genotype who were regular coffee drinkers, the risk for acute alcoholic hepatitis was significantly lower than in people with the G/G genotype who did not drink coffee.
  • Coffee consumption was considerably lower in the group that was diagnosed with acute alcoholic hepatitis as compared to the control group, who were more frequent with their coffee consumption.
  • PNPLA3 G/G phenotype can be a useful biomarker for the determination of high-risk category in alcoholic hepatitis.

Road to sobriety

Excessive alcohol consumption is extremely damaging to the liver. Liver cirrhosis kills millions of people worldwide each year, with the most likely causes being alcoholic hepatitis and prolonged alcohol abuse. Coffee alone cannot mitigate the damages that are wrought by years of alcohol abuse. The damages so caused cannot be treated with medication alone. Sudden abstinence from alcohol may not be an effective solution in some cases as it leads to withdrawal symptoms and often a relapse. It requires lifestyle changes including diet alteration, physical exercises and alternative therapies like meditation.

If you or a loved one is battling an addiction to alcohol, contact the Florida Alcohol Addiction Helpline to find the details about the facilities offering alcohol dependence treatment in Florida. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-220-5381 or chat online with our treatment advisors to know about the best alcohol rehab centers in Florida.