September 29, 2014 International Coffee Day -- Coffee, good for you and your liver

International Coffee Day -- Coffee, good for you and your liver

September 29, 2014
Research indicates that regular coffee consumption may lower your risk of liver disease.

Canadian Coffee Association

Coffee is Canada’s most popular beverage (after tap water) with 65% of Canadians consuming it every day. While many look to coffee as a warm and energizing beverage, they may be surprised to know that coffee consumption as part of a daily routine can benefit liver health.

Liver disease is becoming almost as common as coffee consumption in Canada, yet many do not realize that they have it. Fatty liver disease caused by a build-up of fat in the liver and associated with obesity is now the most prevalent liver disease in Canada. Other liver diseases such as Hepatitis B and C are caused by blood-borne viruses and affect upwards of 600,000 Canadians while liver cancer is one of the fastest rising and deadliest cancers in Canada.

Gary Fagan, president of the Canadian Liver Foundation, a health charity that supports education and research in liver disease, explains, “Liver disease is a serious health issue in Canada but few people understand what a wide range of people it can strike. The liver protects the body from disease and toxins, giving us energy, cleaning the blood and is consequently affected by what we eat, drink, breathe or rub on our skin. With liver disease on the rise in Canada, it’s important for people to learn what impacts the liver in both positive and negative ways”.

Numerous scientific studies support the many benefits of coffee consumption in moderation, including for liver health, and the list is growing.  In fact, research shows that consuming up to 3 cups a day can reduce your risk of liver disease in many ways by:

  • Improving  abnormal liver blood tests including ALT, AST and GGT; (i)
  • Preventing fatty liver disease by reducing insulin resistance; (ii)
  • Enhancing response to treatment for  chronic hepatitis C (iii)
  • Reducing  the risk  of cirrhosis due to alcohol or viral hepatitis (iv)
  • Reducing the risk of  hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) (v)

“There is now significant evidence that coffee can help prevent liver disease with scientists learning and discovering more each day,” says Mr. Fagan. ”Since many do not discover that they have liver disease until it reaches an advanced stage, it’s good to know that their daily coffee may actually be helping as opposed to hurting their livers”.

While the exact mechanisms and ingredients in coffee by which it has beneficial effects on the liver are still under investigation, a number of substances as well as the method of preparation are thought to have significance.  Studies have shown that polyphenols are another component of coffee that has displayed potent antioxidant activity, and this may explain some of coffee’s metabolic benefits. (vi)

Carlo La Vecchia, MD, study author of a recent up-to-date meta-analysis published in Clinical Gastroenterology stated in a journal news release “our research confirms past claims that coffee is good for your health, and particularly the liver,”…  ”The favorable effect of coffee on liver cancer might be mediated by coffee’s proven prevention of diabetes, a known risk factor for the disease, or for its beneficial effects on cirrhosis and liver enzymes.” (vii)

Ongoing research continues to support the positive impact of coffee on liver health.  Moderate consumption (400 mg of caffeine per day – about three 8 oz cups) can provide many protective benefits, including reduced risk for liver disease and that’s good news for Canadians who love their daily brew.

…So pour yourself a cup to help lower the risk!

For more information on coffee and health, visit 

For more information on liver health, visit 

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Ruhl CE, Everhart JE. Coffee and caffeine consumption reduce the risk of elevated serum alanine aminotransferase activity in the United States. Gastroenterology. 2005; 128: 24-32
(ii) Catalano D, Martines GF, Tonzuso A, Pirri C, Trovato FM, Trovato GM. Protective role of coffee in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).Dig Dis Sci. 2010 Nov; 55(11): 3200-6
(iii) Freedman ND, Everhart JE, Lindsay KL, et al. Coffee intake is associated with lower rates of liver disease progression in chronic hepatitis C. Hepatology. 2009; 50: 1360-1369
(vi) Klatsky AL, Armstrong MA. Alcohol, smoking, coffee, and cirrhosis. AM J Epidemiol 1992; 136: 1248-57
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(v) Bravi F, Bosetti C, Tavani V, et al. Coffee drinking and hepatocellular carcinoma risk: a meta-analysis. Hepatology 2007; 46: 430-435
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(vi) Is It Time to Write a Prescription for Coffee? Coffee and Liver Disease
Dawn M. Torres, Stephen A. Harrison, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Washington, DC, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, San Antonio Military Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas-  published online 22 February 2013.
(vii) Francesca Bravi, Cristina Bosetti, Alessandra Tavani, Silvano Gallus, Carlo La Vecchia. Coffee Reduces Risk for Hepatocellular Carcinoma: An Updated Meta-analysis. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 2013; 11 (11): 1413 DOI: 10.1016/j.cgh.2013.04.039