A new study suggests that coffee has another massive benefit - helping your liver heal after a a night of drinking.
Have you had your cup of coffee yet? Even if you hit the bars too hard this weekend, you can still make it to work on time. And according to a report from Reuters, that’s not all – by grabbing a cup of joe, you may even be able to reverse some of the damage that alcohol consumption can inflict on your liver.
Scientists from Southampton University in the U.K. examined data pulled from nine different studies with over 430,000 participants. They ultimately found that people who drank two additional cups of coffee each day were 44 percent less likely to come down with cirrhosis of the liver, a disease caused by overindulgence in food and alcohol.
According to Dr. Oliver Kennedy of Southampton University, “Cirrhosis is potentially fatal and there is no cure as such. Therefore, it is significant that the risk of developing cirrhosis may be reduced by consumption of coffee, a cheap, ubiquitous and well-tolerated beverage.”
The study’s sample included 1,990 patients that had developed cirrhosis. The disease is responsible for more than one million deaths annually, and can develop from hepatitis infections, immune disorders and fatty liver disease in addition to alcohol abuse.
The researchers examined the average levels of coffee consumption across the nine previous studies and modeled the effects of two additional cups per day on liver health. In eight of the nine studies examined, they found that increasing consumption by two cups per day would significantly diminish the risk of developing cirrhosis.
Even without drinking extra coffee, the study’s models found that one cup a day was linked to a 22 percent lower risk of cirrhosis. The risk plummeted as the number of cups increased, with four cups of coffee linked to a 65 percent drop in cirrhosis risk.
While the study suggests that coffee may be a sure-fire way to lower your risk of cirrhosis after a long night out, it failed to account for factors like obesity and diabetes. And despite the apparent statistical correlation, the study did not outline a mechanism through which coffee actually alters the liver and its susceptibility to cirrhosis.
So while coffee is certainly welcomed after a long night, and has been linked to a drop in cirrhosis risk, the best way to keep your liver healthy is to avoid binge drinking in the first place.
The study, published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, can be found here.