Study: Drinking coffee cuts risk of liver problems

A woman carries a cup of coffee.
(Image credit: Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)

Coffee drinkers, fill up that mug.

A new study published on Monday in the journal BMC Public Health found that drinking up to three or four cups of coffee — caffeinated or decaffeinated — a day cuts the risk of developing and dying from chronic liver diseases, CNN reports.

For the study, researchers followed 494,585 participants for nearly 12 years. They determined that coffee drinkers were 21 percent less likely to develop chronic liver disease, 20 percent less likely to develop chronic or fatty liver disease, and 49 percent less likely to die from chronic liver disease than those who do not drink coffee. The researchers found that the most benefit came from drinking ground (as opposed to instant) caffeinated or decaf coffee. Most coffee studies are based on 8-ounce cups of black coffee, CNN cautions.

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"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," study author Dr. Oliver Kennedy of Britain's University of Southampton said in a statement. "This would be especially valuable in countries with lower income and worse access to health care and where the burden of chronic liver disease is highest."

The American Liver Foundation says that over the last two decades, the number of people diagnosed with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease has more than doubled, and the American Cancer Society found that between 1980 and 2021, the rate of liver cancer more than tripled with death rates doubled.

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.