Coffee Cuts Liver Cancer Risk and Much More
You can reduce your risk of liver cancer every time you drink a cup of coffee, according to Italian researchers. While a new study explains this potential benefit, coffee consumption can be good for your liver in other ways as well, and the benefits of that cup of java don’t end in that organ either.
Have a cup of coffee for your liver
The findings of the new study about coffee and liver cancer is especially good for men, who are about three times more likely to develop the most common form of the disease—hepatocellular carcinoma--than women. According to the authors, enjoying a cup of coffee may reduce the risk of liver cancer by about 40 percent, and you can increase that advantage to more than 50 percent if you down three cups a day.
To arrive at these conclusions, the authors conducted a meta-analysis of 16 studies reported on between 1996 and 2012. A total of 3,153 cases of liver cancer were evaluated.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Carlo La Vecchia of Istituto di Ricerhe Farmacologiche Mario Negri, noted that “Our research confirms past claims that coffee is good for your health and particularly the liver.” This study, as well as previous ones on the same topic, fall short of saying there is a direct cause and effect relationship between drinking coffee and liver cancer, since the presence of gastrointestinal diseases or other factors may have an impact on coffee consumption.
Speaking of previous research, if you’re thinking you have heard about an association between coffee consumption and liver cancer before, you’re right. In the February 2013 issue of BMC Gastroenterology, for example, researchers reported on their findings of a meta-analysis.
Sixteen studies (involving 3,622 people with liver cancer) were included in the evaluation. Overall, the authors reported a 50 percent reduction in liver cancer risk among people who consumed the most coffee compared with those who did not consume coffee at all.
Other health benefits of coffee
In another earlier study, the results of which were presented at the Digestive Disease Week 2013 conference, researchers discussed how drinking coffee had been found to lower the risk of developing a form of liver disease called primary sclerosing cholangitis. This disease is characterized by inflammation and scarring of the bile ducts inside and outside of the liver, resulting eventually in cirrhosis (scarring of the liver itself).
Aside from the liver, coffee has demonstrated potential benefit in a number of other organs and health issues. For example:
- Evidence suggests drinking coffee may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- The antioxidants present in coffee may help promote heart health
- Risk of breast cancer may be reduced among women who consume more than 5 cups of coffee daily
- A number of components in coffee have been found to help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Drinking more than 4 cups of coffee daily may reduce the risk of endometrial cancer by 25 percent
Not everyone can tolerate or even likes coffee. However, if you are among the majority of Americans who enjoy coffee daily, chances are you may also be fighting the risk of liver cancer.
Bravi F et al. Coffee reduces risk for hepatocellular carcinoma: an updated meta-analysis. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2013 Nov; 11(11): 1413-21
Sang LX et al. Consumption of coffee associated with reduced risk of liver cancer: a meta-analysis. BMC Gastroenterology 2013 Feb 25; 13:34