Science has offered up some beneficial reasons for drinking coffee in recent years, with the latest research suggesting it may lower the risk of alcohol-related cirrhosis. Alcohol consumption, especially in large amounts, does come with some chance of the drinker developing alcohol-related cirrhosis. Now a new study offers some interesting findings about possibly warding off those chances by drinking coffee.
A new review published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics of multiple existing studies, suggests that by drinking just two or more cups of coffee daily, you may lower the risk of developing alcohol-related cirrhosis by as much as 44 percent, reports CNN Health News on February 20. This research was derived from nine separate studies on the correlation between coffee consumption and risk of cirrhosis. The findings of the nine studies were analyzed by researchers, who found the risks of developing the alcohol-related cirrhosis were significantly lowered by each cup of coffee you drink daily, reported in their review.
This was no little research, as more than 430,000 subjects combined to make up the nine studies. While the duration of the nine studies varied, the longest study out of the group went on for 20-years. CNN Health reports that “in eight of the nine studies examined, researchers found increasing coffee consumption by two cups per day was associated with a statistically significant reduction in the risk of cirrhosis.”
A team from Southampton University in the United Kingdom did this research, which was headed by Dr. Oliver Kennedy. Kennedy explained that they took the data that was already available and combined it to offer a more precise picture of coffee containing these potential protective properties. Showing that the risks of developing cirrhosis were significantly lowered by the consumption of two or more cups of coffee a day renders this research “the first meta-analysis to show the potential protective properties of coffee.”
MSN News reports that lead study author said “Cirrhosis is potentially fatal and there is no cure as such.” He said in an email statement that, “Therefore, it is significant that the risk of developing cirrhosis may be reduced by consumption of coffee, a cheap, ubiquitous and well-tolerated beverage.”
Samantha Heller, who is a senior clinical nutritionist at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York and who wasn’t involved in this study talked a bit about the findings. She added that while this study suggests promise, it isn’t at all suggesting a fix from alcohol related health problems. She said:
“Unfortunately, although coffee contains compounds that have antioxidant effects and anti-inflammatory properties, drinking a few cups of coffee a day cannot undo the systematic damage that is the result of being overweight or obese, sedentary, excessive alcohol consumption or drastically mitigate an unhealthy diet.”
This study showed the more coffee you consumed the more your risks were lowered. As an example of how this worked the researchers conveyed that “compared to no coffee, 1 cup per day was associated with a 22% lower risk of cirrhosis and 4 cups per day was associated with a 65% lower risk.” Kennedy conveyed that the risk percentage doesn’t necessarily continue to rise after more that the 4 cups quoted in the research. It is not known if the risk benefit continues to give you a higher percentage rate for lowering your risk with each cup of coffee after four daily, or if this levels off at some number of cups of coffee during a 24-hour period.
While some news outlets are reporting that this new study is suggesting that “drinking more coffee may undo liver damage from booze,” this may be a bit misleading. The study suggests that your coffee intake of two or more cups a day may help lower your risks of contracting alcohol-related cirrhosis. For people who frequently overindulge in alcohol, their ritual is usually consuming a ton of coffee the next day, so maybe they knew something all along!
The Newsy video above reports that cirrhosis kills 1 million people a year. They also warn that coffee in the morning does not necessarily cancel out a night of drinking at the bar. There still is a lot of research to be done until these findings can be set in stone!
This is promising research, but it doesn’t mean coffee will counteract the other harmful effects of an overabundance of alcohol intake. It does however suggest that it reduces the risk of developing alcohol-related cirrhosis.