According to an article recently published in the journal Hepatology, drinking coffee reduces the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer).
The liver is the largest organ in the body and is responsible for more than 500 functions. These include the secretion of glucose, proteins, vitamins, and fats; the production of bile; the processing of hemoglobin; and the detoxification of numerous substances.
Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of liver cancer; it is named for the type of cell within the liver where the cancer originated.
Researchers from Italy recently conducted a clinical study to evaluate data regarding potential associations between coffee consumption and the risk of HCC, as results from several studies have indicated that coffee reduces the risk of HCC. This study included data from 10 studies conducted in southern Europe and Japan.
• The more coffee individuals drank, the more their risk of HCC was reduced.
• For each additional cup of coffee an individual drank per day, the risk of HCC was reduced by 23%.
• Overall, individuals who were coffee drinkers had a 41% reduced risk of developing HCC compared with those who did not drink coffee.
The researchers concluded that these results provide further evidence that coffee reduces the risk of developing HCC. Furthermore, greater consumption reduces the risk of HCC even further. However, excessive coffee drinking may carry its own risks in individuals with specific medical conditions, so patients may wish to discuss their individual risks and benefits of drinking coffee with their physician.
Reference: Bravi F, Bosetti C, Tavani A, et al. Coffee drinking and hepatocellular carcinoma risk: a meta-analysis. Hepatology. 2007;46: 430–435.
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