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Your Morning Coffee May Be Good For Your Liver

Like a cup or two of coffee a day, but worried that it may not be so good for you? A recent study has linked coffee consumption with improved liver health for people suffering from nonalcoholic liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

The study was conducted by researchers at the Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center in Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The findings from the study were published in the journal Hepatology on October 10, 2011.

NAFLD is the presence of fat in the liver, which can lead to scarring, NASH, and eventual cessation of liver function. NASH is a condition affecting 2 to 5% of Americans and is characterized by fat in the liver accompanied by inflammation and damage.

The study examined 306 individuals, some of whom participated in a previous NAFLD study and some of whom were questioned for the current study. The participants were split into four groups: a control group with no fat in the liver, individuals with fat in the liver but not full blown NASH, NASH stage 0-1, and NASH stage 2-4.

All of the participants completed a questionnaire about their caffeine and coffee consumption. The control group consumed an average 307/228 mg/d of caffeine/coffee, the individuals with fat in their liver but not NASH consumed an average 229/160 mg/d, the NASH stage 0-1 group consumed an average 351/255 mg/d, and the NASH stage-2 group consumed an average 252/152 mg/d.

Examining the numbers above, the researchers noted a significant difference in caffeine consumption between the not NASH group and the NASH stage 0-1 group, as well as between the NASH stage 0-1 group and the NASH stage 2-4 group. They performed a statistical analysis and found a negative relationship between caffeine consumption and hepatic fibrosis, or excessive build up of tissue in the liver.

Caffeine consumption has also been linked to the prevention of Parkinson’s disease and dementia, prevention of certain cancers, and reducing the risk of stroke.

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