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Decaffeinated Coffee Boosts Liver Health

Update Date: Oct 09, 2014 05:16 PM EDT

Drinking decaffeinated coffee could help protect your liver, according to a new study.

Even after accounting for the caffeine content, researchers found that people who drank more coffee had lower levels of abnormal liver enzymes. Researchers said the findings suggest that compounds in coffee and other caffeinated products could help protect the liver.

Previous studies also found that coffee consumption significantly lowered the risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.

"Prior research found that drinking coffee may have a possible protective effect on the liver. However, the evidence is not clear if that benefit may extend to decaffeinated coffee," lead researcher Dr. Qian Xiao from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, said in a news release.

Researchers found that participants who reported drinking three or more cups of coffee a day had lower levels of harmful enzymes like aminotransferase (ALT), aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and gamma glutamyl transaminase (GGT) in their livers. Researchers noted that the latest findings could also be applied to participants who drank only decaffeinated coffee.

"Our findings link total and decaffeinated coffee intake to lower liver enzyme levels. These data suggest that ingredients in coffee, other than caffeine, may promote liver health. Further studies are needed to identify these components," Xiao concluded.

The findings are published in the journal Hepatology.

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