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Question Your World: Can Coffee Undo Liver Damage?

Posted: September 29, 2021

Rates of liver disease have doubled in the past few decades and now affects up to 1 in 4 Americans ... yikes! Instead of drinking the jitter juice, researchers decided to study its impact on the liver. So, can coffee undo liver damage?

Your liver is a quiet superhero in your body, filtering everything you consume to make sure your blood doesn’t take on too much fat, sugar, or toxins. Meaning the liver is at risk of damage from the things we consume. Unfortunately, many of the most delicious and fun foods and drinks are potentially damaging to our liver. 

You may know that overconsumption of alcohol can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, leaving it scarred and permanently damaged. Other risk factors of liver disease include being overweight or obese, having diabetes, and having high cholesterol or high triglycerides. 

Rates of liver disease have doubled in the past few decades and now affects up to 1 in 4 Americans. That's scary stuff! However, science has some good news for coffee drinkers. A recent study showed coffee drinkers actually have a lower incidence of chronic liver disease!

Image credit: Getty Images

Researchers analyzed data from more than 490,000 subjects and found that participants who drank two cups of coffee a day had a 44% lower risk of liver disease. Four cups of day reduced the risk by 67%, but please note: that caffeine buzz may not be so comfortable or convenient for anyone around you! This result was seen regardless of whether the participants drank decaf, instant, or ground coffees.

Now, before going to an all-coffee diet to undo years of late-night partying, there are a few factors to keep in mind. 

First, the fats and sugars present in most coffee additives will undo your coffee bonus. Adding sugars, creamers, and flavorings cancels out the positive effects of plain black coffee. 

Next, and most importantly, this study doesn’t indicate that coffee is cleaning out your liver or undoing previous damage. What it does suggest is that it is possible that coffee, or some of the phytochemicals within it, could have active ingredients to help fight liver disease. With luck, scientists will begin testing coffee as a treatment or prevention method! 

There you go: coffee, the bean that keeps yielding new scientific discoveries despite being a part of our lives for hundreds of years! Hey, when it comes to breaking science news, it’s better latte than never.

Wait! There's more brewing in the coffee science pot. Here's the buzz on some other interesting news related to that morning jolt of java.

We've been sharing coffee science stories for a while now because this drink is just packed with interesting stuff! Here are five other reasons to celebrate coffee during farcical holidays and everyday!

  1. Coffee does a lot! This popular beverage happens to be a great source for antioxidants, enhances through process, raises the body's capacity for physical activity, and so much more. 
  2. Coffee = SCIENCE! There's so much chemistry and physics involved in making various types of coffee. It's a great way to make a tasty beverage while using the principles of science! 
  3. Variety! There are so many ways to make coffee. Around the world, coffee is made in a myriad of ways. Just remember: all those additives and sugars are not the healthy parts of your beverage. 
  4. You can make roads with coffee! No really, scientists have used spent coffee grinds to make slabs of roads
  5. Coffee is everywhere! That's right, folks. Coffee is one popular drink. More than 400 million cups are served daily in the United States alone. The rest of the world loves coffee, too. In fact, it's even vital in space!