Regular or decaf, coffee protects your liver
Drinking coffee, regular or decaf, can help maintain a healthy liver, according to a new study.
“Prior research found that drinking coffee may have a possible protective effect on the liver,” Qian Xiao, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, and the study’s lead author, said in a release. “However, the evidence is not clear if that benefit may extend to decaffeinated coffee.”
To address the decaf question, researchers analyzed data on nearly 28,000 adults who answered questions about their coffee drinking habits over the previous 24-hour period as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Those in the study who drank three or more cups of coffee every day had lower levels of abnormal liver enzymes than those who didn’t drink coffee. Elevated levels of liver enzymes is a marker of liver inflammation or damage.
In Xiao’s study, it didn’t matter whether the coffee was caffeinated or not. The levels were also low for those who drank decaf.
“Our findings link total and decaffeinated coffee intake to lower liver enzyme levels,” Xiao said. “These data suggest that ingredients in coffee, other than caffeine, may promote liver health. Further studies are needed to identify these components.”
Previous studies have found drinking coffee is associated with a reduced risk of developing diabetes, some cancers, depression and heart disease.