Does coffee prevent rare liver diseases?

New research from France, specifically Rennes, shows that regular coffee consumption is linked to a reduced risk of a rare autoimmune liver disease called primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC).

The coffee you drink on a daily basis could help you live longer. That's good news for coffee drinkers because it looks like your daily cup of coffee could help you extend your life expectancy by up to 18 %, according to new research. Regular coffee or decaf? So drinking both could be good for the liver.

Christian Labbé, a gastroenterologist and hepatologist at the La Rochelle Clinic, explains in a statement that although PSC is rare, it has "extremely harmful effects." Because of this, it is important to find ways to reduce the risk of developing this and similar diseases. He says the study is the first to identify "a new environmental factor that may also help us determine the cause of this and other devastating autoimmune diseases." The evidence from his study also seems to add another piece of evidence to the idea that drinking alcohol can do more good than harm.

Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC)

PSC is an autoimmune disease of the bile ducts of the liver. An autoimmune disease is a disease in which the body turns against its own cells. The bile ducts are tubes that carry liquid bile from the liver to the intestines. Note that it is this fluid that helps digest food and remove spent red blood cells and cholesterol toxins.

PSC is a progressive disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the bile ducts ("cholangitis") that eventually causes hardening and scarring ("sclerosing"). The disease damages the liver to the point of liver failure. It can also cause bile duct formation. Liver transplantation is currently the only known cure, but this is usually reserved for patients with very severe liver damage.

Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) is another autoimmune liver disease with a similar name to PBC, except that in PBC, the immune system gradually destroys the liver's small bile ducts, allowing powerful toxins to build up in the liver, causing irreversible scarring that is called "cirrhosis.

Coffee consumption linked to lower risk of PSC, not PBC

For their study, Labbé and colleagues examined three groups of patients: one with PSC, one with PBC, and one with healthy patients called controls.

They found that coffee consumption was associated with a reduced risk for PSC, but not for PBC. They also noted that PSC patients were more likely to never drink coffee than healthy controls. And on average, PSC patients spent about 20 % less time drinking coffee than controls.

The researchers believe the study shows that PSC and PBC may be more different than previously thought. Knowing more about these differences could provide clues about the causes of these autoimmune diseases and help develop treatments.

The National Institutes of Health provided significant funding for the study, which suggests that drinking boiled Greek coffee may improve cardiovascular health and increase longevity. Indeed, caffeinated beverages may be good for the liver. Researchers found that increased caffeine consumption may reduce the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and protect against disease progression.

In this respect, coffee consumption perfectly reduces the risk of liver cancer. In fact, coffee has been shown to have a variety of health benefits, and Italian researchers now claim that coffee consumption reduces the risk of developing liver cancer. Still, the debate over whether decaffeinated coffee confers the same health benefits as regular coffee has been settled, at least when it helps reduce liver enzymes.

Let's not forget that a new study shows that men who start drinking alcohol in their teens have a higher risk of liver disease. Current dosing and guidelines may be too lax.

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