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Coffee & Health
Liver function

Caffeine is protective in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

A Birerdinc et al, 2011
Aliment Pharmacol Ther
November 10, 2011


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome, is the most common cause of primary liver disease. Although recent studies have found that coffee drinking is protective against end stage chronic liver disease, there are scarce caffeine intake data in NAFLD specifically.


To investigate the effects of dietary behaviour in NAFLD patients, using four continuous cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES 2001–2008).


Using data from four continuous cycles of NHANES, dietary intake questionnaires that list 62 nutrition components. Logistic regression was used to identify independent predictors of NAFLD among nutrition components after adjustment for potential clinical confounders. All analyses were run using SAS 9.1 and SUDAAN 10.0 (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA).


Of the 62 nutrient components used for the univariate analysis, 38% were significant (P-value <0.05) in NAFLD with caffeine consumption being higher in the control group (P-value <0.001). The multivariate analysis using demographics, clinical parameters and nutritional components found five factors independently associated with NAFLD [African American Race P-value <0.001); Male gender P-value <0.001); Obesity (BMI +/- 30) P-value <0.001); Caffeine intake (mg) P-value <0.001) and total plain water consumption (g) P-value £0.02)].


Our analysis shows that caffeine intake is independently associated with a lower risk for NAFLD suggesting a potential protective effect. These data necessitate further research to elucidate the mechanism by which caffeine can protect against NAFLD.

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