Your morning joe could give you more than just a buzz; it might even stave off the most common form of primary liver cancer. In a new study published this week, researchers from the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh claimed that people who consume at least a cup or more of caffeinated coffee a day have a 20 percent lower risk of developing hepatocellular cancer than those who abstain. Heavy coffee drinkers can assert an even bigger advantage: imbibing up to five cups a day can reduce the same risk by half, scientists said.

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Even decaf was found to have a protective effect, if “smaller and less certain than for caffeinated coffee.”

Despite coffee’s potential as a lifestyle intervention in chronic liver disease, Southampton’s Oliver Kennedy, the study’s lead author, advises some modicum of caution.

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“We’re not suggesting that everyone should start drinking five cups of coffee a day though,” he said in a statement. “There needs to be more investigation into the potential harms of high coffee-caffeine intake, and there is evidence it should be avoided in certain groups such as pregnant women.”

To reach their conclusion, the scientists analyzed data from 26 studies involving more than 2.25 million participants.

coffee, University of Southampton, University of Edinburgh, cancer, health

Hepatocellular cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death globally, particularly in China and Southeast Asia, usually develops in people who already suffer from chronic liver disease.

Experts suggest that we could see as many as 1.2 million cases by 2030.

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Previous studies have shown that increased coffee consumption can protect against liver cirrhosis, which can develop from partaking in too much alcohol.

“The next step now is for researchers to investigate the effectiveness, through randomized trials, of increased coffee consumption for those at risk of liver cancer,” Kennedy said.

+ University of Southampton

Via the Guardian

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