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Coffee May Help Improve Liver Enzyme Levels

More and more studies are linking coffee with a variety of health benefits. Now a new study suggests that drinking coffee - decaffeinated or caffeinated - may help liver health.

For this study, researchers examined data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Study, which took place from 1999 to 2010. Participants in the study included 27,793 people who were age 20 or older who reported how much coffee they drank over a 24-hour period.

The researchers measured several blood levels of markers of liver function in order to assess liver health, including aminotransferase (ALT), aminotransferase (AST), alkaline pohsphatase (ALP) and gamma glutamyl transaminase (GGT) in order to assess liver health. High levels indicate poor liver health.

The researchers found that individuals who drank three or more cups of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee per day had lower levels of all of the liver function markers. As the same results were seen for caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, the researchers believe that ingredients in coffee other than caffeine may promote liver health.

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute in Maryland conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on August 13, 2014 in the journal Hepatology.

The health benefits associated with coffee are generally attributed to the powerful antioxidants found in coffee called polyphenols. These benefits include reducing the risk of developing diabetes, prostate cancer, cirrhosis and oral cavities.

One note to coffee drinkers: be careful how you take your coffee. A double latte with whipped cream and three sugars may provide the health benefits seen here, but the high fat and sugar content can have other negative effects.

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