Drinking coffee cuts risk of dying from cirrhosis
A new study suggests that having two or more cups of coffee daily could significantly lower the risk of death from cirrhosis of the liver by 66 percent.
The study, published in the journal Hepatology, further contributes to the growing body of evidence that coffee has genuine health benefits, such as reducing the death risk from chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, which is the 11th cause of death in the United States and killed almost 32,000 Americans in 2010.
For the study, researchers from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore and the University of Singapore explored how coffee could potentially reduce the mortality rate for those with cirrhosis of the liver – a condition that kills 1.3 percent of people around the globe, according to The World Health Organization.
Study leader, Dr. Woon-Puay Koh, explained that the research team concentrated on the impact that coffee, soft drinks, alcohol, green tea and black tea had on mortality risks from cirrhosis.
As a result, they found that only coffee reduced the risk of death from cirrhosis, whereas heavy alcohol consumption had the opposite effect by actually increasing mortality rates from this condition.
More than half of Americans age 18 and older drink coffee on a daily basis, which equates to approximately 100 million coffee drinkers in the U.S., where the annual amount spent importing coffee is about $4 billion per year.
With so much time, energy and money being spent on coffee, it makes sense that considering coffee as “good for your health” brings added benefits.
Accordingly, the research team took their study a step further by using a prospective population-based study called The Singapore Chinese Health Study, which included over 63,000 Chinese participants aged 45 to 74 living in Singapore who were interviewed on topics related to their diet, lifestyle and medical histories from 1993 to 1998.
The researchers then followed up with the participants for 15 years on average, which is when they discovered that a total of 14,928 of them participants had died – and, among them, 114 of the deaths were from cirrhosis of the liver.
More specifically, those who drank at least 20 g of alcohol every day had a higher risk of dying from cirrhosis, compared with their non-drinking counterparts. However, those who drank two or more cups of coffee each day had a 66 percent reduced risk of dying from cirrhosis, compared with those who drank no coffee.
In conclusion, the research team said that their study "provides further impetus to evaluate coffee as a potential therapeutic agent in patients with cirrhosis."
SOURCE: Hepatology, Coffee, alcohol and other beverages in relation to cirrhosis mortality: the Singapore Chinese Health Study, Woon-Puay Koh, et al., published April 2014 (doi: 10.1002/hep.27054).