Can Coffee Help Reverse The Side Effects Of Excessive Alcohol Consumption?

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Drinking coffee could help protect against alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver. Several studies done on alcohol drinkers, who consumed coffee regularly, are less likely to have high levels of liver enzymes in the blood, that can be markers for inflammation or indications of any disease. Also coffee consumption can significantly reduce the risk for hepatic cirrhosis.

Did you know that your favourite coffee can save you against liver damage from alcohol? According to research studies, coffee, but not other beverages containing caffeine, may inhibit the onset of alcoholic and nonalcoholic liver cirrhosis. Drinking as little as one cup of coffee a day could help protect you from liver disease caused by alcohol.1

How Does Alcohol Cause Liver Damage?

Toxins, including alcohol, are broken down by the liver. Alcohol can damage or destroy liver cells, as the liver breaks down alcohol, so it can be removed from your body. During this process, your liver can be overworked and liver cells can become injured or seriously damaged if you drink more alcohol than it can process.

According to the NHS (National Health Service), UK, excessive alcohol consumption is when a man drinks more than 21 units and a woman drinks more than 14 units per week. Liver cirrhosis is one of the most dangerous side effects of excessive alcohol consumption.

Heavy drinkers can also eventually develop fatty liver as the liver breaks down alcohol into carbon dioxide and water. Approximately 10% of heavy drinkers can subsequently develop cirrhosis – the third stage of alcoholic liver disease.2

What Is Liver Cirrhosis?

Cirrhosis is a complication of liver disease which involves loss of liver cells and irreversible scarring of the liver. Liver cirrhosis, which kills approximately 1 million people each year, can be caused by excessive drinking, obesity, diabetes, hepatitis and multiple episodes of heart failure.

For cirrhosis to develop long-term, continuous damage to the liver needs to occur. Scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue, which blocks the flow of blood through the liver, which slows liver function. Cirrhosis is a progressive disease, developing slowly over many years, until eventually it can stop liver function (liver failure).3

How Can Coffee Save Your Liver From Alcohol Damage?

The inverse relationship between coffee and cirrhosis was first reported by researchers at Kaiser Permanente in 1993. According to the finding of a study in the June 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, drinking coffee could help protect against alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver.4

Several studies have confirmed that coffee drinkers are less likely to have high levels of liver enzymes in the blood. These liver enzymes can be markers for inflammation or indications of other problems, including disease. The biggest apparent protective benefits were among those who consumed the most alcohol.

A meta-analysis was also performed to summarize previous evidences regarding the benefits of coffee consumption in alleviating hepatic cirrhosis. Their study also concluded that coffee consumption can significantly reduce the risk for hepatic cirrhosis.5


Overall, studies say that drinking coffee is good for your liver, but only if you’re careful about what types of coffee you consume. However, scientists are still unsure what it is in the coffee that provides the protection. More studies are needed to further identify the relationship between coffee and how it lowers the incidence of alcohol induced liver disease.

References   [ + ]

1. Coffee, Caffeine, and the Risk of Liver Cirrhosis
2. Exploring Alcohol’s Effects on Liver Function-Maher, Jacquelyn J. Alcohol Health and Research World21.1 (Jan 1, 1997): 5
3. Alcohol-Related Liver Disease
4. Coffee, cirrhosis, and transaminase enzymes
5. Coffee Consumption Decreases Risks for Hepatic Fibrosis and Cirrhosis: A Meta-Analysis