Researchers from the US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease reported on a national, population-based study among almost 6,000 adults who were at high risk for liver injury due to excessive alcohol consumption, hepatitis B or C, obesity, or other factors.
The research (abstract 100766) showed an inverse correlation between coffee and caffeine consumption and liver injury, seen in around 8.7 per cent of this high-risk population, said the researchers.
Those who drank more than two cups of coffee per day were 44 per cent less likely to show evidence of liver damage compared to those who did not consume caffeinated drinks. The risk reduction seen with consumption of any caffeinated beverage was even higher, at 69 per cent.
Last year a Norwegian study found that drinking three cups of coffee daily may reduce the risk of mortality from liver cirrhosis.
Co-author of the new study Dr James Everhart said the results warranted further research, adding: "There is surprisingly little evidence-based information on the influence of diet and nutrition on the course and severity of chronic liver disease."
Additional studies presented at the conference, including one linking soda consumption to the rise of esophageal cancer in the US, demonstrates the strong assocation between diet and health.
"The relationships between diet and disease that these investigators have seen are intriguing and should stimulate further exploration in this important area. It is even more apparent that lifestyle and dietary choices made during youth can have a significant impact on health later in life," commented Lee Kaplan of Massachusetts General Hospital.