Drinking coffee reduces the risk of chronic liver disease

With the benefit of peaking at three to four cups per day.


Along with being popular, Coffee is also one of the healthiest beverages. The presence of high levels of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients in Coffee reduces the risk of developing several diseases.

Now a new study also suggests a new health benefit of drinking coffee. Scientists at the Universities of Southampton and Edinburgh, UK- found that drinking any Coffee reduced the risk of developing and dying from chronic liver disease.

A total of 494,585 UK Biobank participants with known coffee consumption and electronic linkage to hospital, death, and cancer records were included in this study. The participants were followed over a median of 10.7 years to monitor who developed chronic liver disease and related liver conditions.

78% of participants consumed ground or instant caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee, while 22% (109,767) did not drink any Coffee. There were 3,600 cases of chronic liver disease during the study period, which also includes 301 deaths. Also, there were 5,439 cases of chronic liver disease or steatosis (a build of up fat in the liver, also known as fatty liver disease) and 184 cases of Hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer.

Compared to non-coffee drinkers, coffee-drinkers had a 21% reduced risk of chronic liver disease, a 20% reduced risk of chronic or fatty liver disease, and a 49% reduced risk of death from chronic liver disease. The maximum benefit was seen in the group who drank ground Coffee, which contains high levels of the ingredients Kahweol and cafestol, which are beneficial against chronic liver disease in animals.

Instant Coffee, which has low levels of Kahweol and cafestol, was also associated with a decreased risk of chronic liver disease. While the risk reduction was smaller than that associated with ground coffee, the finding may propose that different fixing, or conceivably combining ingredients, might be helpful.

Dr. Oliver Kennedy, the lead author, said: “Coffee is widely accessible, and the benefits we see from our study may mean it could offer a potential preventative treatment for chronic liver disease. This would be especially valuable in countries with lower income and worse access to healthcare and where the burden of chronic liver disease is highest.”

Scientists cautioned, “As coffee consumption was only reported when participants first enrolled in the study, the study does not account for any changes in the amount or type of Coffee they consumed over the 10.7-year study period. As participants were predominantly white and from a higher socio-economic background, the findings may be difficult to generalize to other countries and populations.”

Future study is required to study the relationship between Coffee and liver disease with more rigorous control of the amount of Coffee consumed.

Journal Reference:
  1. Kennedy, O.J., Fallowfield, J.A., Poole, R., et al. All coffee types decrease the risk of adverse clinical outcomes in chronic liver disease: a UK Biobank study. BMC Public Health 21, 970 (2021). DOI: 10.1186/s12889-021-10991-7