A new study has officially given anyone who has ever woken up with a searing hangover and unable to function without that first cup of coffee, some good news about just how healing that ritual can be. The Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics journal published that drinking coffee just might help reduce the damage that booze can do to the liver.
Data from nine previously published studies with over 430,000 participants was analyzed by these researchers and led them to the conclusion that having about two additional cups of coffee to drink had a direct link to a 44 percent lower risk of these individuals developing liver cirrhosis.
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As Inverse pointed out, liver cirrhosis has been known to be the cause of up to a million deaths annually worldwide. The condition is characterized by the permanent scarring, hardening and destruction of the liver tissue brought on by such factors like excessive alcohol intake, immune disorders, chronic hepatitis infection, and fatty liver disease, which is linked to obesity and diabetes.
The effects of liver cirrhosis have long thought to be irreversible and as the author of the lead study, Dr. Oliver Kennedy of Southampton University in the United Kingdom, points out, this new finding does not equal a cure, but a means of staving off its development.
“Cirrhosis is potentially fatal and there is no cure as such. Therefore, it is significant that the risk of developing cirrhosis may be reduced by consumption of coffee, a cheap, ubiquitous and well-tolerated beverage.”
The study that Dr. Kennedy and his colleagues published points to the act that the primary ingredient of coffee, caffeine, has actually been proven by other studies to suppress inflammation and the formation of fibrous tissue. Chemicals such as chlorogenic acid, kahweol, and cafestol, are some of the other biological elements found in coffee and all have been found to protect against the formation of scars on the liver as well.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about 11.5 in 100,000 Americans die each year from liver cirrhosis — which amounts to 36,000 deaths in the U.S. alone. The pooled analysis for the study included 1,990 patients who already had cirrhosis. Eight of those nine studies analyzed showed that adding two cups of cofee per day actually led to a significant reduction in the risk of individuals getting liver cirrhosis.
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All except one study reported that as the cups of coffee each day increased there was a corresponding decline in the risk of cirrhosis. In comparison to those who consumed no coffee, it is estimated that one cup per day could be linked to a 22 percent lower risk. With two cups, the risk dropped by 43 percent with consumption of two cups, dropped to an even more significant 57 percent with three cups and declined by 65 percent with four cups.
Despite the positive findings the New York Post wrote that the researchers are warning that persons should still be cautious in their alcohol and coffee intake as loading up on excessively sweet coffee beverages is not a good idea. They are still not quite sure exactly how the cups of coffee lead to healthier livers nor even if how the coffee is brewed or the type of beans has any effect.
Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York, warns that the health benefits of coffee are not enough to offset lifestyle choices which damage the liver.
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“Unfortunately, although coffee contains compounds that have antioxidant effects and anti-inflammatory properties, drinking a few cups of coffee a day cannot undo the systematic damage that is the result of being overweight or obese, sedentary, excessive alcohol consumption or drastically mitigate an unhealthy diet.”