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Drinking Coffee May Lower Risk of Mortality From Liver Cirrhosis

A recent study suggests that drinking two or more cups of coffee per day could lower the risk of death from liver disease caused by non-viral hepatitis by as much as 66%.

Participants in the study included 63,275 Chinese adults between the ages of 45 and 75. All of them provided diet, lifestyle, and medical history to the researchers between 1993 and 1995 as part of the Singapore Chinese Health Study.

The researchers then followed the participants for an average of 15 years. During that time, 114 people died from cirrhosis. Of those deaths, 29 (33%) were from viral hepatitis, two (2%) from hepatitis and 14 (12%) from alcohol-related cirrhosis.

The researchers found that people who drank at least two cups of coffee daily were 66% less likely to die from cirrhosis caused by non-viral hepatitis than those who did not drink coffee. However, there was no association between lower risk of death and coffee for the individuals who had viral hepatitis B-related cirrhosis.

The researchers pointed out that the individuals who died from non-viral hepatitis-related cirrhosis were more likely to be older, diabetic, and overweight than the rest of the participants. Those characteristics are similar to those of people who suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), suggesting that coffee should be tested to see if it helps individuals with NAFLD.

Researchers from the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore and the National University of Singapore conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on February 6, 2014, in the journal Hepatology.

Previous studies have shown that coffee has a number of health benefits. These benefits are generally attributed to the powerful antioxidants found in coffee called polyphenols and include reducing the risk of developing diabetes, prostate cancer, cirrhosis and oral cavities.

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