Drinking coffee regularly is linked to a decreased risk of liver cirrhosis, according to scientists from the University of Southampton in the UK. The research is published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics in a review of relevant studies published in 2015.

After analysing nine long-term studies that included nearly half a million men and women from six countries, the researchers found out that individuals who drink two extra cups of coffee daily have 44 percent less chances of developing liver cirrhosis. This finding echoes the discovery that consuming two extra cups of coffee a day may also halve the risk of dying from cirrhosis.

The study states that coffee contains biologically active ingredients such as caffeine as well as chlorogenic acid, kahweol and cafestol, which are considered to be oxidative and anti-inflammatory agents. These ingredients may also offer protection against liver fibrosis.

Coffee also contains compounds that block hepatitis B and C viruses. The researchers say that the risk reduction from coffee consumption is higher than the risk reduction offered by many medicines used to prevent the disease. Moreover, coffee is safe and well tolerated, unlike other medications.

“This could be an important finding for patients at risk of cirrhosis to help to improve their health outcomes,” said lead author O.J. Kennedy of Southampton’s Faculty of Medicine. “However, we now need robust clinical trials to investigate the wider benefits and harms of coffee so that doctors can make specific recommendations to patients.”

Wikimedia/James Heilman, MDDoric Donell | Australia Network News

Wikimedia/James Heilman, MD

Patients with liver cirrhosis can suffer from liver failure and cancer. The healthy liver tissue is replaced by scarred tissue due to excessive alcohol consumption, hepatitis C infection and other toxins. Medical News Today reports that 0.27 percent or 633,323 adults in the US have the condition but 69 percent do not know that they have it.