Hello. I am Dr David Johnson, professor of medicine and chief of gastroenterology at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia.
Unfortunately, chronic liver disease is not an uncommon process in this country. We do not have great management strategies for drug modification, particularly as it relates to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), but there are a variety of these patients who might benefit from the addition of coffee.
A recent meta-analysis of 11 studies looked at the effect of caffeine consumption in patients with chronic hepatitis C. This is a very interesting study that built on animal data, and one which I think is worthy of some discussion with your patients.
There are growing data on [caffeine use in] metabolic-related disease and NAFLD, and [results of this study were] impressive for hepatitis C. The [investigators] did an excellent job of extracting, scoring, and assessing the quality of the studies [comprising the meta-analysis]. Six studies [evaluated] liver enzymes, and five studies used [advanced] hepatic fibrosis as an endpoint. Three studies looked at hepatitis C viral load, and two studies looked at the effects on hepatocellular carcinoma.
All of these studies came back with the same message—that caffeinated brewed coffee reduces risk for these endpoints. Why might that be?