To date, there have been no prospective studies examining the effect of coffee consumption on serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level among individuals infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). We conducted a hospital-based cohort study among patients with chronic HCV infection to assess an association between baseline coffee consumption and subsequent ALT levels for 12 months.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
From 1 August 2005 to 31 July 2006, total 376 HCV-RNA positive patients were recruited. A baseline questionnaire elicited information on the frequency of coffee consumption and other caffeine-containing beverages. ALT level as a study outcome was followed through the patients’ medical records during 12 months. The association between baseline beverage consumption and subsequent ALT levels was evaluated separately among patients with baseline ALT levels within normal range (≤45 IU/L) and among those with higher ALT levels (>45 IU/L).
Among 229 patients with baseline ALT levels within normal range, 186 (81%) retained normal ALT levels at 12 months after recruitment. Daily drinkers of filtered coffee were three times more likely to preserve a normal ALT level than non-drinkers (OR=2.74; P=0.037). However, decaffeinated coffee drinkers had a somewhat inverse effect for sustained normal ALT levels, with marginal significance (OR=0.26; P=0.076). In addition, among 147 patients with higher baseline ALT levels, 39 patients (27%) had ALT reductions of ≥20 IU/L at 12 months after recruitment. Daily drinkers of filtered coffee had a significantly increased OR for ALT reduction (OR=3.79; P=0.034). However, in decaffeinated coffee drinkers, OR could not be calculated because no patients had ALT reduction.
Among patients with chronic HCV infection, daily consumption of filtered coffee may have a beneficial effect on the stabilization of ALT levels.