I've been reading about liver health for years and came across many webpages (Here is only one) that coffee can protect your liver against liver cirrhosis.

My understanding of cirrhosis is that it's when fibrosis overwhelms the liver so greatly that it starts forming dents, craters and holes where healthy tissue has died and shrunk.

Does this mean that some chemical in coffee can help the liver slowly retrieve and expel dead bits of liver (fibrosis)?


The conclusion of the mentioned systematic review with meta‐analysis: coffee consumption and the risk of cirrhosis (Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 2016):

This meta‐analysis suggests that increasing coffee consumption may substantially reduce the risk of cirrhosis.

They say coffee may reduce the risk of cirrhosis, not that it can treat it.

The article mentions that caffeine, chlorogenic acid, melanoids and the pentacyclic diterpenes, kahweol and cafestol in coffee may be associated with health benefits.

According to another systematic review, regular coffee consumption is associated with decreased risk of liver cirrhosis and according. Yet another systematic review concludes that coffee consumption is associated with decreased risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

In another systematic review, caffeine consumption was associated with lower risk of liver cirrhosis in patients with hepatitis C.

These reviews say there is an association between coffee drinking and lower risk of cirrhosis. The actual cause-effect relationship between coffee drinking and cirrhosis has not been established, so far.

Cirrhosis may be reversible.

Is cirrhosis of the liver reversible? (PubMed, 2007)

Accumulating evidence suggests that liver fibrosis is reversible and that recovery from cirrhosis may be possible.

Cirrhosis and its complications: Evidence based treatment (PubMed, 2014)

In the past cirrhosis was generally thought to be irreversible but recent studies have shown that treatments aimed at the underlying cause especially in earlier stages of the disease can improve or even reverse fibrosis.

  • Oh my. So to date, is there no actual chemical that will actively break-down fibrosis? – Chrips Apr 19 at 12:13
  • 1
    Mild cirrhosis can heal on its own. I'll update the answer. – Jan Apr 19 at 12:14
  • Not a doc...... – Jan Apr 20 at 14:40
  • Just a turn of phrase... – Chrips Apr 25 at 12:59

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