Cirrhosis, a leading cause of death in the U.S., occurs when scar tissue develops in the liver. A new study reveals that by simply consuming a cup of tea or coffee could reduce the risks of developing the condition later in life.
Chronic liver disease is the 12th leading cause of death and responsible for an estimated 32,000 deaths each year in the United States.
Cirrhosis is responsible for most of the liver-related deaths in the United States. Long-term alcohol consumption is the leading cause of cirrhosis, but U.S. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD can also cause cirrhosis.
To ward off the disease, medical experts recommend maintaining an active lifestyle and healthy weight, along with avoiding alcohol. Obesity is a key factor for a fatty liver.
A new study conducted by researchers at the Erasmus MC University Medical Center in Rotterdam in the Netherlands discovers two more preventive measurements that can be added to that is coffee and tea.
“There is quite some epidemiological, but also experimental data suggesting that coffee has health benefits on liver enzyme elevations, viral hepatitis, NAFLD, Cirrhosis and liver cancer,” lead author Sarwa Darwish Murad, Ph.D. said. “We were curious to find out whether coffee consumption would have a similar effect on liver stiffness measurements in individuals without chronic liver disease.”
Examining The Link Between Coffee, Tea and Liver Health
The research team analyzed data of 2,424 patients from a previous cohort study known as the Rotterdam Study. The participants resided in Rotterdam and were 45 years of age and older.
Each participant underwent a complete head-to-toe physical, which included various anthropometric measures including height, abdominal scans, blood tests and body mass index or BMI.
The researchers utilized the liver imaging to determine liver “stiffness” values, when disease is present, the measurements will be higher than normal. If left untreated, progressive fibrosis, liver scarring, can eventually lead cirrhosis.
A food frequency questionnaire was utilized to assess drinking and food habits. The survey contained 389 questions, including items about coffee and tea consumption.
The participants were split into three separate categories, depending on their tea and coffee consumption patterns: frequent consumption, defined as three or more cups of coffee and tea daily; moderate consumption, defined as up to three cups of coffee and tea daily; and no consumption. The teas were also split into separate categories, including herbal, green and black.
The research team applied regression analysis to examine the connection between tea and coffee consumption and liver fibrosis. Potential confounding factors – age, BMI, alcohol consumption, smoking and gender – were also accounted for, along with healthy intake and physical activity patterns.
The findings showed that frequent tea and coffee consumption consistently corresponded with a notably lower risk of liver stiffness. Lifestyle factors and BMI was not factored into these results.
The research team also discovered that participants without and with a fatty liver benefited from coffee consumption. The findings indicated to the researchers that frequent tea and coffee consumption may very well prevent liver fibrosis, before the onset of liver disease begins to occur.
The researches noted that further studies are required to better understand the mechanisms responsible for the connection between coffee and tea and liver fibrosis.
The study was published in the Journal of Hepatology.