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NewsBites September 2017 Issue

Coffee and Herbal Tea: Good for Your Liver?

A new observational study in the Journal of Hepatology suggests regularly drinking coffee or herbal tea may help protect against liver fibrosis (hardening due to scar tissue). That's assessed by measuring liver stiffness with a scan.

Scientists looked at medical records and food/beverage intake surveys of 2,424 Dutch people in the general population (without any obvious signs of liver disease), average age 66. People who reported drinking any herbal tea or three or more cups of coffee daily were more likely to have low liver stiffness, compared to those not drinking any herbal tea or drinking less coffee. The associations held true after adjusting for other factors that may affect liver stiffness, but the study wasn’t designed to show cause-effect relationships.

"The findings on coffee are consistent with results from other studies, performed in animals and humans with overt liver disease, in which progression to cirrhosis (complete scarring of the liver) was decreased among those with increased coffee consumption," says S. Darwish Murad, MD, PhD, senior author of the study at Erasmus MC University Medical Center in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Little is known about herbal tea and liver health.

To learn more: Journal of Hepatology, August 2107

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