Believe It or Not: Coffee and Smoking May Protect you from Liver Disease

Dec 16 2013 - 2:03am
A cup of refreshing coffee

Discussions about liver disease sets off shock waves in people due to the generally catastrophic consequences of diseases of the liver. Concerns about potential extreme pain and suffering and premature death from liver disease rose to new heights after the shocking news of the premature death of Steve Jobs in 2011 from primary pancreatic cancer, which lead to a liver transplant prior to his death at 56 years old. So everyone is interested in ways to protect the liver from disease, and news that coffee and smoking of all things may do so is groundbreaking. However, keep in mind although some coffee daily may be a good idea for a lot of people, smoking overall remains a killer overall.

There is not much known about nongenetic risk factors for an entity which is called primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), aside from the possible protective effect of smoking, reports the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Researchers decided to investigate the relationship which exists between environmental risk factors and susceptibility to primary sclerosing cholangitis.

However, in spite of the fact that this research showed a protective effect for sclerosing cholangitis from smoking, the negative effects of smoking on overall health should be kept in mind. In spite of this research, smoking has still been found to harm nearly every organ of the body, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking is the primary causative factor in many diseases and lowers the health of smokers in general. In the United States alone the negative health effects from cigarette smoking account for greater than 440,000 deaths, or about one of every five deaths, every year.

The researchers proceeded by distributing a questionnaire to patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis who were recruited from Oslo University Hospital in Norway, along with randomly chosen individuals from the Norwegian Bone Marrow Donor Registry as control subjects. Data were than analyzed from 240 patients suffering from primary sclerosing cholangitis and 245 control subjects.

It was discovered that a smaller proportion of patients suffering from primary sclerosing cholangitis were daily coffee drinkers than were control subjects. The same association was found for smokers. The researchers concluded that coffee consumption and smoking might actually protect against the development of primary sclerosing cholangitis. And in women there might also be influences from hormonal factors.

This study shows that coffee and cigarette smoking may really protect you from the rare liver disease known as primary sclerosing cholangitis, according to Oslo University Hospital. This study from Norway which was published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, showed that coffee consumption and cigarette smoking potentially protect against primary sclerosing cholangitis. This is a chronic liver disease which is caused by chronic inflammation of the bile ducts.

This study has aroused great interest in view of increasing knowledge dealing with coffee as being a possible protective agent in dealing with other liver diseases. This study was done by researchers at the Norwegian PSC Research Center which is based at Oslo University Hospital and the University of Oslo.

The study demonstrated that the primary sclerosing cholangitis patients had lower coffee consumption both currently and in their early adult life, which has suggested that coffee consumption may protect against the development of this disease. However, the patients who drank coffee had decreased levels of liver enzymes in the blood, which therefore suggested a beneficial effect in the liver.

Among cigarette smokers, it was observed only 20 percent of the patients reported ever daily cigarette smoking, in comparison with 43 percent of the healthy controls. Furthermore, cigarette smokers acquired this disease on the average about 10 years later than the non-smokers. These observations have confirmed and have also strengthened previous observations that smoking has a possible protective influence for primary sclerosing cholangitis.