Daily Coffee Consumption Improves Liver Disease Damage

Coffee consumption with high fat diet found to improve non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

A daily dose of coffee could improve damage from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a recent study indicates.

Researchers found that mice given a daily dose, equivalent to 6 cups of espresso coffee for 70-kg person, improved several key markers of NAFLD in mice fed a high fat diet.

The study’s results were presented at The International Liver Congress 2016, which involved the analysis of 3 groups of mice over a 12-week period.

In the first group, the mice were given a standard diet, group 2 was given a high fat diet, and group 3 was given a high fat diet plus a decaffeinated coffee solution. Weight gain was reduced in mice given a high fat diet and caffeine compared with mice fed the same diet without the caffeine (p=0.028).

The coffee supplementation in a high fat diet significantly reversed levels of cholesterol (p<0.001), alanine aminotransferase (p<0.05), steatosis (p<0.001), and ballooning degeneration (p<0.05).

The results suggest that coffee supplementation could cause variations in the intestinal tight junctions, which regulates the permeability of the intestine.

Researchers were able to show how coffee protects against NAFLD, by raising levels of the protein Zonulin (ZO)-1 — that lessens the permeability of the gut.

“Previous studies have confirmed how coffee can reverse the damage of NAFLD but this is the first to demonstrate that it can influence the permeability of the intestine,” said study author Vincenzo Lembo. “The results also show that coffee can reverse NAFLD-related problems such as ballooning degeneration, a form of liver cell degeneration.”

It’s believed that an increase in gut permeability may contribute to liver injury and worsening of NAFLD. Individuals with NAFLD can develop fibrosis, which could lead to cirrhosis.

“Italy is famous for its coffee and this Italian study has reinforced our knowledge on the link between it and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,” said researcher Laurent Castera. “Although not suggesting that we should consume greater levels of coffee, the study offers insights that can help future research into and understanding of the therapeutic role coffee can play in combating NAFLD.”