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Increased Coffee Intake May Lower Risk of Liver cirrhosis

New research reveals that consuming two or more cups of coffee each day reduces the risk of liver cirrhosis by 66%, specifically cirrhosis caused by non-viral hepatitis. Cirrhosis is a late-stage liver disease in which healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue and the liver is permanently damaged. Scar tissue keeps your liver from working properly. Many types of liver diseases and conditions injure healthy liver cells, causing cell death and inflammation.

A 2004 report from The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that each year 1.3 percent of total worldwide deaths are caused by liver cirrhosis. Previous research shows that 29 million Europeans have chronic liver disease, with 17,000 deaths annually attributed to cirrhosis. According to WHO, liver cirrhosis is the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S.

Hepatitis B and C, fatty liver disease, heavy alcohol use and other causes of liver injury can risk of liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and end-stage liver failure. Globally, cirrhosis causes more than a million deaths, accounting for some 2% of all deaths each year. Earlier studies have linked coffee consumption with better liver function and slower development of cirrhosis. A dose-related positive effect on death from liver-related causes has also been reported.  

The researchers found that if the per capita coffee intake in nations in which people drank at most two cups of coffee per day on average had instead been more than two cups per day, the estimated number of liver-related deaths would have been 630,947, with 452,861 fewer people dying in 2016. If the average per capita intake had been four cups per day, the estimated number would have been 360,523, with 723,287 fewer people dying.  

“Based on available data, coffee represents a simple, relatively safe and accessible public health intervention that may reduce liver-related mortality globally,” wrote the authors. “If the impact of coffee on liver-related mortality shown in cohort studies is confirmed in clinical trials, increasing per capita coffee consumption to more than two cups per capita per day on a population level has the potential to avert hundreds of thousands of deaths from liver disease annually.”  

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