HCV patients: Drink coffee, not tea, to slow liver disease progression


coffee picking

A large well- funded study,  Coffee Intake, is Associated with Lower Rates of Liver Disease Progression in Chronic Hepatitis C, was first published in Hepatology (2009) and is now free to read.  The Discussion section summarizes the good news: 

This prospective study of patients with chronic hepatitis C and advanced liver disease who had failed to achieve a sustained virological response with peginterferon plus ribavirin treatment, we observed an inverse association between coffee intake and liver disease progression. Drinkers of three or more cups of coffee per day had 53% lower risk of liver disease progression than non-coffee drinkers. Results were consistent for coffee intake assessed on the baseline questionnaire and coffee intake assessed on a second questionnaire 13 months later. Results were also similar for those with both bridging fibrosis and cirrhosis at baseline. In contrast to coffee, we observed no association with consumption of black or green tea.

The researchers looked at a lot of data and found some amazing things.  For example, ” We observed no association between coffee intake and age, body mass index, cirrhosis status, diabetes, educational attainment, HCV genotype, Ishak inflammation score, platelets, prothrombin time, or treatment group.”

They don’t know which of the “more than 1000 chemical compounds” are so beneficial.   One gets the sense that the researchers are really surprised that coffee is so good for non-responders because they observe: “Coffee intake is also not generally considered to be part of a healthy lifestyle.”

My spouse and I usually start each morning with a cup of Gevalia Espresso mixed in with some cheaper ground coffee.  This morning, we filled some mugs with our a.m. brew. Which are the best health-giving coffee beans?  I don’t know but I’m glad coffee isn’t patented, treats the whole person as well as the liver, is readily available, and is an enjoyable ritual!

Could coffee intake explain, in part, the differences in fibrosis scores among patients who were infected with HCV during the same time span? Could coffee intake support the immune system as well.  Is this the swiss-army knife of beverages?  To recommend your favorite coffee brands, or brewing method, leave a comment.  We’re interested!

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4 Responses to HCV patients: Drink coffee, not tea, to slow liver disease progression

  1. david j murphy says:

    Just make it really strong. Put a pinch of salt on your grounds to cut the bitterness. Dr in san antonio hep clinic has been saying this for years. seems to work

    • Kiedove says:

      I haven’t heard about the salt trick. I’m trying to think of other ways to get coffee goodness into recipes without ruining them. Maybe a sweet coffee syrup on yogurt or ice cream.

  2. Vic says:

    Emeril Lagasse’s Big Easy Bold Keurig Cups. We call it “Wake the Dead” coffee. Best stuff besides beignets that South Looziana has to offer… From someone raised on Chock Full o’ Nuts in New Jersey…

    • Kiedove says:

      Will try that one. My mom loved Eight o Clock fresh ground but it’s not everywhere. We are still looking for a fav bean.

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