Coffee Reduces Mortality Risk From Liver Cirrhosis

<p>Consuming two or more cups of coffee each day reduces the risk of death from liver cirrhosis by 66%, specifically cirrhosis caused by non-viral hepatitis; tea, fruit juice and soft drink consumption are not linked to cirrhosis mortality risk, according to a new study published in the journal Hepatology.</p>

SINGAPORE—Consuming two or more cups of coffee each day reduces the risk of death from liver cirrhosis by 66%, specifically cirrhosis caused by non-viral hepatitis; tea, fruit juice and soft drink consumption are not linked to cirrhosis mortality risk, according to a new study published in the journal Hepatology.

This prospective population-based study, known as The Singapore Chinese Health Study, recruited 63,275 Chinese subjects between the ages of 45 and 74 living in Singapore. Participants provided information on diet, lifestyle choices and medical history during in-person interviews conducted between 1993 and 1998. Patients were followed for an average of nearly 15 years, during which time there were 14,928 deaths (24%); 114 of them died from liver cirrhosis. The mean age of death was 67 years.

Findings indicate that those who drank at least 20 grams of ethanol daily had a greater risk of cirrhosis mortality compared to non-drinkers. In contrast, coffee intake was associated with a lower risk of death from cirrhosis, specifically for non-viral hepatitis related cirrhosis. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a chronic liver disease related to the metabolic syndrome and more sedentary affluent lifestyle, likely predominates among the non-viral hepatitis related cirrhosis group. In fact, subjects who drank two or more cups per day had a 66% reduction in mortality risk, compared to non-daily coffee drinkers. However, coffee intake was not associated with viral hepatitis B related cirrhosis mortality.

A 2004 report from The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that each year 1.3% of total death worldwide is caused by liver cirrhosis. Previous research shows that 29 million Europeans have chronic liver disease, with 17,000 deaths annually attributed to cirrhosis. Further WHO reports state that liver cirrhosis is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States.

"Our study is the first to demonstrate a difference between the effects of coffee on non-viral and viral hepatitis related cirrhosis mortality," said lead researcher, Woon-Puay Koh, Ph.D., with Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore and the National University of Singapore. "This finding resolves the seemingly conflicting results on the effect of coffee in Western and Asian-based studies of death from liver cirrhosis. Our finding suggests that while the benefit of coffee may be less apparent in the Asian population where chronic viral hepatitis B predominates currently, this is expected to change as the incidence of non-viral hepatitis related cirrhosis is expected to increase in these regions, accompanying the increasing affluence and westernizing lifestyles amongst their younger populations."

According to a different recent study, moderate amounts of coffee will not cause dehydration and actually contributes to daily fluid requirements in regular coffee drinkers just as other fluids do. Previous research showed the acute effects of caffeine as a mild diuretic, and there is a common assumption that caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, can cause dehydration. However, the effect of coffee consumption on fluid balance cannot be directly compared with that of pure caffeine.

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