Benefits of Coffee in Patients with Liver Disease
Previous studies have shown that drinking coffee may be beneficial for patients with various medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Kiran Bambha, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Denver in Aurora, and her colleagues were interested to find out more: if coffee drinking affects insulin resistance related to advanced stages of hepatic fibrosis in NAFLD.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a condition when excessive fat is deposited in the liver, but not related to alcohol abuse, which often leads to liver inflammation and fibrosis (increased connective tissue formation). Advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis of the liver is accompanied by various metabolic complications and abnormal liver function tests, including insulin resistance.
The study included almost 800 adult participants who were enrolled from 2004-2008 in the Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) Clinical Research Network. Liver function tests and biopsies were taken to evaluate their disease. Insulin resistance and blood sugar levels were assessed. They were also asked about their coffee drinking habits, as well as their alcohol and tobacco use.
The investigators found that increased coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk for advanced liver fibrosis in patients with less insulin resistance, but not in those with more insulin resistance. Dr. Bambha concludes that their data adds to the body of evidence that suggests a potential beneficial effect of coffee for patients with chronic liver disease, although she believes that more long-term studies are needed to determine whether coffee could be a useful adjunct in treatment for patients with fatty liver disease.
According to Dr. Bambha coffee is a “complex substance” that contains various beneficial components, including caffeine, vitamins, minerals, fiber, phenolic compounds, and many more.
Keller, D. Coffee Linked to Lower Risk for Severe Liver Fibrosis in NAFLD. Medscape.