Modest consumption of caffeinated drinks is associated with less advanced liver scarring in patients with hepatitis C, results of a study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology suggest.
To investigate the effect of modest daily caffeine consumption and liver scarring, Hashem El-Seng, MD, MPH, of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study of 910 participants, aged 18 to 70 years. Each of the patients had confirmed hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and had not treated antiviral therapy.
“We specifically chose to study hepatitis C patients because they are at an increased risk for hepatic fibrosis (liver scarring), and there is limited data on the effects of coffee or caffeine on the progression of scarring within this patient population,” said El-Serag in a university press release.
Of the patients, 37.6% had advanced liver scarring compared with 62.4% who had milder scarring. Participants with advanced liver fibrosis were significantly older, more likely to have type 2 diabetes, and were more likely to be overweight or obese, noted the investigators.
“Most participants reported drinking caffeinated coffee, and about half of those drank one or more cups of coffee per day,” explained El-Serag. “Patients with milder liver scarring had a higher average daily intake of caffeinated coffee compared to those with more advanced cases.”
“An estimated 100 milligrams of caffeine from coffee, tea or soda was associated with approximately one-third reduction of advanced scarring, and higher consumption didn’t produce an additional benefit,” he said.