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Coffee Drinking May Cut Risk of Liver Disease Progression

Hepatitis C patients who drink three or more cups a day exhibit lower risk of disease progression

MONDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- People with advanced hepatitis C-related liver disease who drink three or more cups of coffee a day have lower risk of disease progression than non-coffee drinkers, according to a study in the November issue of Hepatology.

Neal D. Freedman, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Md., and colleagues assessed coffee and tea consumption in 766 subjects who participated in the Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-Term Treatment against Cirrhosis trial, who had bridging fibrosis or cirrhosis on liver biopsy, and who did not respond to standard peginterferon plus ribavirin treatment.

At baseline, the researchers found coffee drinking was associated with better status for a number of liver disease markers, such as lower alpha-fetoprotein levels, lower serum aspartate aminotransferase/alanine aminotransferase ratio, and better hepatic steatosis grade. The incidence of the predefined disease outcomes declined with increased coffee consumption. Relative risks were 1.11 for less than one cup per day, 0.70 for one to fewer than three cups per day, and 0.47 for three or more cups per day. However, no association was found for drinking tea.

"Individuals in this study were hepatitis C positive, had advanced chronic liver disease, and did not respond to standard of care therapy. As such, our findings may not be generalizable to healthier populations. Nevertheless, because individuals who do not respond to standard care therapy represent a sizable proportion of hepatitis C-positive individuals, these findings are of potential importance to a large number of individuals worldwide," the authors write.

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