Drinking This Much Coffee Every Day Can Save Your Liver, Study Says
Adding a little more coffee to your morning routine could reduce your risk of liver disease.
There's a good chance you start your morning with a cup of coffee—and maybe even more than one. You might even have considered cutting back, given some of the known dangers of caffeine. But while there are certainly downsides to drinking too many lattes, there are also very real health benefits to your cup of joe. In fact, a recent study suggests that upping your coffee intake may be especially beneficial to one important organ in particular: Drinking more than two cups of coffee a day could save your liver.
The study, published Aug. 14 in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, looked at how an increase in coffee consumption could reduce the number of deaths from liver disease across the world. The Australian researchers concluded, "Increasing per capita coffee consumption to > 2 cups per day on a population level has the potential to avert hundreds of thousands of liver‐related deaths annually."
As the study notes, the benefit of coffee on your liver has been well established by previous studies. A 2016 review published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics determined that people who drank two cups of coffee were 44 percent less likely to develop cirrhosis of the liver. Another study, published in BMJ Open in 2017, found that one cup of coffee per day reduced the likelihood of liver cancer by 20 percent. Tellingly, two cups of coffee offered a 35 percent reduction, and five cups a 50 percent reduction.
The goal of the Australian researchers was not to once again prove that coffee is good for your liver, but to see the amount of coffee consumption that could ameliorate liver disease on a global scale, and what that would look like in terms of decreased mortality. "Coffee clearly helps your liver," Douglas Dieterich, MD, a hepatologist at Mount Sinai Division of Liver Medicine and Gastroenterology, told Fox News. "This study demonstrates the impact on a larger scale of previous studies."
It's still not clear exactly why coffee has the effects it does on liver disease. While previous studies have identified caffeine as particularly useful in limiting the ability of liver cancer cells to reproduce, the Australian researchers note, "The mechanism by which coffee offers protection from liver disease has not been clearly demonstrated, but it appears that caffeine is not the protective chemical."
Whatever the reason for its protective abilities, coffee—in significant quantities, no less—does appear to offer some proven benefits when it comes to liver health. And since it's relatively inexpensive and easy to get, you might as well consider adding those two-plus cups a day to your morning routine. And for more ways to make sure your liver is in tip-top shape, discover these 20 Warning Signs Your Liver Sends You.