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Coffee, herbal tea may help prevent liver fibrosis

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

June 09 2017. Findings reported on June 1, 2017 in the Journal of Hepatology add evidence to a protective effect for coffee and herbal tea against liver fibrosis, a condition characterized by progressive scarring from chronic inflammation, which can lead to the development of cirrhosis.

“There is quite some epidemiological, but also experimental data suggesting that coffee has health benefits on liver enzyme elevations, viral hepatitis, NAFLD, cirrhosis, and liver cancer,” noted lead researcher Sarwa Darwish Murad, MD, PhD, who is a hepatologist at the Erasmus MC University Medical Centre in the Netherlands. “Beyond the liver, coffee has been demonstrated to be inversely associated with overall mortality in the general population. The exact mechanism is unknown but it is thought that coffee exerts antioxidant effects. We were curious to find out whether coffee consumption would have a similar effect on liver stiffness measurements in individuals without chronic liver disease.”

The study included 2,424 participants in the Rotterdam Study, which included men and women aged 45 years and older. Dietary questionnaire responses provided information concerning the number of cups of coffee and tea consumed per day. Transient elastography and ultrasound examinations assessed liver fibrosis.

Increased liver stiffness was found in 5.2% of the subjects, however, among those whose coffee intake was categorized as frequent at greater than three cups per day, the percentage of subjects decreased to 4.1%. Among tea drinkers, only herbal tea was associated with a reduction in fibrosis.

Lead author Louise J. M. Alferink, MD, of the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Erasmus MC University Medical Centre, concluded that “Examining accessible and inexpensive lifestyle strategies that have potential health benefits, such as coffee and tea consumption, is a viable approach to finding ways to halt the rapid increase of liver disease in developed countries.”

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