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Coffee & Health
Liver function

An epidemiological study of the association of coffee with chronic liver disease

H B Walton et al, 2013
Scottish Medical Journal, Volume 58 (4); 217-222
November 12, 2013


Chronic liver disease affects 855 people per million in the UK. Previous studies have reported that coffee appears protective against the development of abnormal liver enzymes, hepatic fibrosis and cirrhosis. The aim of this study, the first in a Scottish population, was to compare coffee consumption in patients with liver disease and that of control populations to determine correlations between coffee intake and the incidence of non-cancerous liver disease and with Child’s-Pugh and model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) scores.


Two hundred and eighty-six patients attending the liver outpatient department at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh completed a questionnaire regarding coffee consumption and lifestyle factors. Control questionnaires were also completed by 100 orthopaedic outpatients and 120 medical students. Patients with cirrhosis (n = 95) drank significantly less coffee than those without cirrhosis (p = <0.001). There was no correlation between Child’s-Pugh (-0.018) and MELD scores (-0.132) with coffee consumption.


Coffee drinking is associated with a reduced prevalence of cirrhosis in patients with chronic liver disease. However, there was no significant difference in the amount of coffee drunk by liver patients and the control groups. It is possible that by changing the amount of coffee drunk, the development of cirrhosis in liver disease could be postponed.

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