A new study has demonstrated that drinking decaffeinated coffee may be beneficial for the liver.
The study conducted at National Cancer Institute showed that higher coffee consumption, regardless of caffeine content, was linked to lower levels of abnormal liver enzymes which suggesed that chemical compounds in coffee other than caffeine may help protect the liver.
The International Coffee Association reported that coffee consumption had increased one percent each year since the 1980s, increasing to two percent in recent years.
Researchers used data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES, 1999-2010). The study population included 27,793 participants, 20 years of age or older, who provided coffee intake in a 24-hour period. The team measured blood levels of several markers of liver function, including aminotransferase (ALT), aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and gamma glutamyl transaminase (GGT) to determine liver health.
Participants who reported drinking three or more cups of coffee per day had lower levels of ALT, AST, ALP and GGT compared to those not consuming any coffee. Researchers also found low levels of these liver enzymes in participants drinking only decaffeinated coffee.
Lead researcher Dr. Qian Xiao from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, concluded that their findings linked total and decaffeinated coffee intake to lower liver enzyme levels. These data suggested that ingredients in coffee, other than caffeine, may promote liver health.
The study is published in Hepatology, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.