Coffee livers

Some things just have their time in the sun; for a while there it was the British Empire although now…not so much. For a time too, lava lamps, pet rocks, Garden gnomes, aerobics, and fondue seemed each to have an irretrievable hold on the collective consciousness but like the British Empire so too lava lamps pass into the sun and then move out of it. It is hard to argue that at the moment there could be any commodity that is more zeitgeisty than coffee. Most homes these days contain at least one sci-fi looking machine aimed at delivering a cup of the hallowed beverage but coffee’s reign is not bordered by the walls of homes. As soon as you step out of your front door you will find a parade of people of all ages carrying one of the many varieties of coffee available in a fashionable brown and cream cup topped with a universal white lid and sipping it, be they weightlifter or lecturer, with the delicacy of a deer at the water’s edge. It is testimony as well to coffee’s current mojo that all public drinkers adopt a swagger that says to any casual observer, “Yep, that’s right, I’m drinking this cool thing so how cool am I!” Whether coffee will pass the way of the Ottoman Empire (in fairness, we can’t lay empire failure all at the feet of the British) and pet rocks only the annals of history will tell us but right now it seems here to stay. Too much coffee of course is not a good thing but we have known for a long while that moderate coffee drinking is good for your liver and now it seems that even decaf coffee helps your liver along.

In a new study researchers had subjects report their coffee intake over a 24 hour period. To assess liver health the researchers measured blood levels of liver enzymes. Elevated liver enzymes may indicate inflammation or damage to cells in the liver. Inflamed or injured liver cells leak higher than normal amounts of certain chemicals, including liver enzymes, into the bloodstream, which can result in elevated liver enzymes on blood tests. The enzymes measured here were alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and gamma glutamyl transaminase (GGT).

The results showed that people who drank three or more cups of coffee per day had lower levels of all four liver enzymes compared to those who did not drink any coffee. These same results existed in people who only drank decaf coffee.

Of course drinking three or more cups of coffee, depending on the form you are consuming, could get you into a harmful range for caffeine consumption as far as other parts of your body, like your nervous system and heart go, if you are drinking the full octane brew.

According to this study though, whether it is decaf or full caf, that latte loves your liver. Does that mean the Coffee Empire will never fall? Surely one day, like all before it, coffee too will become a “has-bean”.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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