That 6 AM cup of joe may be doing wonders for your health—a new study out of Rotterdam reveals that drinking coffee and herbal tea may protect against liver fibrosis.
Chronic liver diseases are the 12th leading cause of death worldwide, making this discovery an important one. Liver-related mortality is closely related to the development of cirrhosis, which is the final consequence of progressive fibrosis, or the scarring of the liver.
Researchers have found that drinking coffee and herbal tea may protect against liver fibrosis. These affordable, common options could mean more widely available protection from liver disease for more individuals.
“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,” says Sarwa Darwish Murad, MD, PhD, principal investigator of the study and hepatologist at the Erasmus MC University Medical Center. “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 anti-oxidant effects.”
Investigators found that frequent coffee consumption was significantly associated with lower odds of high liver stiffness values, or less scarring of the liver. They found that both frequent coffee and any herbal tea consumption, even in small amounts, were significantly associated with lower liver stiffness values. Overall, the authors concluded that frequent coffee and herbal tea consumption seem to have beneficial effects on liver scarring—even before liver disease has developed.
More research is required to determine the exact mechanisms through which these beverages exact these effects. However, now you have one more reason to take a daily coffee break!