Impact of Coffee on Liver Diseases

A Systematic Review

Sammy Saab; Divya Mallam; Gerald A. Cox II; Myron J. Tong


Liver International. 2014;34(4):495-504. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Coffee is one of the most commonly consumed beverages in the world. Its health benefits including improved overall survival have been demonstrated in a variety of disease states. To examine the association of coffee consumption with liver disease, a systematic review of studies on the effects of coffee on liver associated laboratory tests, viral hepatitis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) was performed. Coffee consumption was associated with improved serum gamma glutamyltransferase, aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase values in a dose dependent manner in individuals at risk for liver disease. In chronic liver disease patients who consume coffee, a decreased risk of progression to cirrhosis, a lowered mortality rate in cirrhosis patients, and a lowered rate of HCC development were observed. In chronic hepatitis C patients, coffee was associated with improved virologic responses to antiviral therapy. Moreover, coffee consumption was inversely related to the severity of steatohepatitis in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Therefore, in patients with chronic liver disease, daily coffee consumption should be encouraged.


Coffee is a commonly consumed beverage worldwide. In the United States, over 50% of Americans consume coffee on a daily basis.[1] The commonly cited reasons for coffee consumption are its stimulatory effects, taste and aroma.[2,3] Recent data suggests that coffee consumption may have health benefits in a number of medical ailments. Long-term coffee drinkers may be at a decrease risk for type II diabetes, symptomatic gallstone disease, Parkinson's disease, heart disease and stroke.[2,4–7] Moreover, coffee consumption is associated with decreased all-cause mortality.[8,9] In a recent analysis of the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study data, a dose-dependent inverse association between coffee consumption and total mortality was described.[9] Men and women who drank 6 or more cups daily had a 10% and 15% decreased risk of death, respectively.

Chronic liver disease is major health burden in the United States, ranking 12th amongst the leading causes of death and accounting for over 30 000 deaths in 2009 alone.[10] Chronic liver disease affects approximately 15% of the US population and is a major economic strain through direct healthcare expenditures as well by indirect costs related to lost income due to premature death or disability.[11,12] Treatments for liver disease is often viewed with suspicion, and many patients often seek alternative therapies for their liver disorders.[13–15]

Given the potential health benefits in a variety of medical conditions and its impact on survival, we explored the impact of coffee consumption on patients with liver ailments. A systematic, comprehensive review on the interaction between coffee consumption and liver associated tests, viral hepatitis, nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) was performed and is presented herein.