While perhaps not a panacea, coffee drinking appears to be beneficial for some people. Figuring out the chemistry is not easy. Here are a couple of recent papers related to the liver that cover some of the literature and studies to date.

"The suggested anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective effects of coffee in our study could be accounted for by several bioactive compounds with high antioxidant capacity. The main compounds in coffee implicated to have protective roles in the liver are caffeine, paraxanthine, cafestol, kahweol, and chlorogenic acids; however, .1000 additional compounds could be responsible for its beneficial effects (43, 44, 45). Additional studies are warranted to evaluate the potential for application of these specific biochemical compounds in HCC prevention."

It seems very likely that coffee, acting through caffeine, and probably through inhibition of adenosinergic signals, prevents complications of chronic liver disease – specifically cirrhosis. Two features of the evidence are of particular importance. First, the fact that the literature in patients supporting coffee's anti-cirrhotic effect continues to accrue without opposing studies suggests that the initial epidemiological associations were real. Although this could be accounted for in part by publication bias favoring positive studies, that is not a fully convincing explanation. Second, the observation that the studies in human are supported by animal and cellular data suggest that there is a rationale to give the human trials greater consideration. At present, it is rational to encourage the use of moderate amounts of brewed coffee in patients with chronic liver disease.

And here is a very interesting article about coffee with good graphics by Nathan Seppa in Science News (Oct 3, 2015).


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