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Coffee Drinkers Have 50% Less Risk Of Liver Cancer, Claims Study

Rejoice, coffee drinkers! Your liquid energy aka cupped lightning aka brain juice can save you from the risk of developing a common type of cancer. And no it is not just any caffeine-fuelled proclamation but a science-backed finding.

According to a recent study conducted by the Queen's University Belfast, coffee drinkers have a lower risk of the most common type of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

A Cup Of Coffee Every Day Keeps The Liver Cancer Away

Easily the most consumed beverage in the world, coffee has been proven to aid your health. From lowering your risk of Alzheimer's disease and type 2 diabetes to protecting your from the risk of Parkinson's and heart diseases, the health benefits of drinking coffee are plenty [1] . With studies being conducted regularly to implore the various benefits a cup of Joe can provide you, protection against liver cancer is the latest find.

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Spanning over a period of 7.5 years, the study examined the coffee-drinking habits of 471,779 participants. The number of respondents included in the study has resulted in it becoming one of the largest studies of middle-aged individuals in the world [2] .

The findings of the study pointed out that, individuals who regularly drink coffee have a reduced risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of liver cancer. The study compared regular coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers and compared the occurrence of digestive cancer.

Various Factors Were Taken Into Consideration

Out of the 471,779 participants, three quarters reported drinking coffee. Some of the factors considered for the study were, if the respondents were previous or current smokers, consume higher levels of alcohol or have high cholesterol.

Instant Coffee Wins The Cup!

The researchers compared different types of coffee and its link to lowering the risk of developing liver cancer. On examination, it was found that the risk of HCC was just as low in people who drank mostly instant coffee [3] .

The co-author of the study, Dr Dr Úna McMenamin said, "This is one of the first studies to investigate the risk of digestive cancers according to different types of coffee and we found that the risk of HCC was just as low in people who drank mostly instant coffee, the type most commonly drank in the UK", pointing at the need to carry out further studies [4] .

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The coffee drinkers were less likely to have chronic conditions such as diabetes, cirrhosis, gallstones, and peptic ulcers when compared to non-coffee drinkers.

Risk Of Liver Cancer Reduced By Half, Possibly Due To The Antioxidants

The researchers were able to gather the understanding that coffee drinkers were 50 per cent less likely to develop HCC compared to those who did not drink coffee. The impact of coffee on preventing the onset of liver cancer was because coffee contains antioxidants and caffeine, which may protect against cancer [5] .

Likewise, the findings of the current study are in line with the evidence from the World Cancer Research Fund's report which concluded that there is 'probable' evidence to suggest that coffee drinking lowers the risk of liver cancer [6] .

On A Final Note...

The researchers also investigated other digestive cancers, such as bowel and stomach, but found no consistent links with coffee drinking. The study also asserted that, although it can reduce the risk of developing liver cancer, drinking coffee is not as protective against liver cancer as stopping smoking, cutting down on alcohol or losing weight.

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Therefore, drinking coffee daily alone will not help you from developing liver cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, regular exercise, reduced alcohol consumption, avoiding illicit drugs, proper vaccination and safe sex are some of the means through which you can protect your liver health [7] .

Infographics by Sharan Jayanth

View Article References
  1. [1] Ahsan, F., & Bashir, S. (2019). Coffee Consumption: Health Perspectives and Drawbacks. J Nutr Obes, 2, 101.
  2. [2] Tran, K. T., Coleman, H. G., McMenamin, Ú. C., & Cardwell, C. R. (2019). Coffee consumption by type and risk of digestive cancer: a large prospective cohort study. British journal of cancer, 120(11), 1059.
  3. [3] Tanaka, K., Hara, M., Sakamoto, T., Higaki, Y., Mizuta, T., Eguchi, Y., ... & Kawazoe, S. (2007). Inverse association between coffee drinking and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma: a case‐control study in Japan. Cancer Science, 98(2), 214-218.
  4. [4] Indian Education Diary. (2019, November 08). Researchers discover coffee drinkers could halve their risk of liver cancer. Retrieved from, https://indiaeducationdiary.in/researchers-discover-coffee-drinkers-could-halve-their-risk-of-liver-cancer/
  5. [5] Molloy, J. W., Calcagno, C. J., Williams, C. D., Jones, F. J., Torres, D. M., & Harrison, S. A. (2012). Association of coffee and caffeine consumption with fatty liver disease, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and degree of hepatic fibrosis. Hepatology, 55(2), 429-436.
  6. [6] Tsugane, S., & Sasazuki, S. (2007). Diet and the risk of gastric cancer: review of epidemiological evidence. Gastric cancer, 10(2), 75-83.
  7. [7] Ji, C. (2019). P237 Enzyme complexes of alcohol metabolism protect against liver injury in animal models fed acute alcohol and anti-HIV drugs.

Story first published: Monday, November 11, 2019, 18:00 [IST]
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