Published: 10:30 EST, 2 February 2016 | Updated: 13:47 EST, 2 February 2016
Two cups of coffee a day can help stave off liver disease caused by drinking too much alcohol, scientists claimed today.
In fact, regular consumption of the drink slashed the risk of the risk of liver cirrhosis by 44 per cent.
Researchers from the University of Southampton reviewed nine long-term studies involving almost half a million men and women from six countries.
They found that those who drank two cups of coffee every day were less likely to suffer from liver cirrhosis or die from it.
Liver cirrhosis is a condition where the liver is scarred due to long-term effects of toxins like alcohol or due to hepatitis C infection.
It can be fatal as it can lead to liver failure and cancer – causing over one million deaths worldwide per year.
Footballer George Best, musicians Jimi Hendrix and Gerry Rafferty and actor Larry Hagman all died of cirrhosis.
The authors concluded having two cups of coffee a day was linked to a near halving of the risk of cirrhosis of the liver.
They said: ‘This is a large effect compared to many medications used for prevention of the disease.
‘For example, statin therapy reduces the risk of heart disease by just 25 per cent.
‘Furthermore, unlike many medications, coffee is generally well tolerated and has an excellent safety profile.
‘The findings are important given the high incidence of liver disease, the positive interaction between alcohol and obesity for liver disease risk and the lack of specific treatments to prevent liver disease due to these factors.’
The study was published in the science journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
Liver cirrhosis is a condition where the liver is scarred due to long-term effects of toxins like alcohol
The report said: ‘Coffee comprises over a thousand compounds, many of which are biologically active and may affect human health.
‘These include caffeine, chlorogenic acid, melanoids and the pentacyclic diterpenes, kahweol and cafestol.
‘The biological effects of coffee include stimulation of the central nervous system, primarily by caffeine, the attenuation of oxidative stress and inflammation, and anti-carcinogenesis.
‘Due to its widespread consumption, coffee and its effects on health have been studied extensively. In the context of liver disease, coffee appears to confer a number of protective effects.
‘Animal studies and human observational studies suggest that coffee consumption reduces the frequency of abnormal liver function tests, fibrosis, cirrhosis and HCC.
‘In addition, a randomised-controlled trial showed that patients with hepatitis C who drank more coffee had lower serum levels of liver enzymes.
‘The aim of this meta-analysis was to summarise the evidence from studies on the effect of coffee on cirrhosis.’
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