Consider the hepatic benefits of coffee

A reader considers drinking coffee and its potential preventive effect for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

I appreciated the article “Watch Out for NALFD, Treat ASAP” in the April 2021 ACP Internist but regret that research regarding coffee was not mentioned.

Numerous publications, including a meta-analysis by Shen and colleagues published in Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology in January 2016, have documented the benefit of daily coffee consumption in reducing the incidence of hepatic fibrosis in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NALFD). It appears that two cups daily is sufficient to have this effect, and other liver diseases appear to benefit from coffee consumption as well, as discussed in a systematic review by Saab and colleagues published in the April 2014 Liver International. In addition, as reported in the Aug. 15, 2017, Annals of Internal Medicine by Park and colleagues, coffee consumption has been associated with lower all-cause death rates in non-White populations as well as White populations. Subgroup analysis suggested particular benefit in cardiovascular and renal disease.

Of course, excessive coffee and caffeine consumption has substantial health risks. While some appears healthful, too much may be harmful.

Arnold R. Eiser, MD, MACP