Rates of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are increasing worldwide. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is likely to become the most common cause of end stage liver disease in the not too distant future.
Lifestyle modification and weight loss remain the main focus of management, however, there has been growing interest in the benefit of specific foods and dietary components on disease progression, with some foods showing protective properties. The foods that show the most promise and potential benefits are: oily fish/fish oil, nuts, tea, red wine, avocado, olive oil and coffee.
Caffeine consumption is reported to be associated with reduced hepatic fibrosis in patients with chronic liver diseases. A systematic review was done to assess the association between caffeine consumption and prevalence of hepatic fibrosis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Four cross-sectional and two case control studies with a total of 20,064 subjects were included in the analysis. Among these, three studies with 18,990 subjects were included in the analysis for prevalence of NAFLD while the other three studies with 1074 subjects were for hepatic fibrosis. Total caffeine consumption was not significantly associated with either the prevalence or hepatic fibrosis of NAFLD.
After stratifying by type of caffeine intake, regular coffee caffeine intake was significantly associated with reduced hepatic fibrosis of NAFLD.
The protective effect of coffee on hepatic fibrosis and cirrhosis was also identified in subgroup analyses of patients with alcoholic liver disease and chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
Researchers concluded that coffee consumption can significantly reduce the risk for hepatic fibrosis and cirrhosis.