Regular coffee intake could cut the risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) - an autoimmune liver disease, research has shown.
PSC, an inflammatory disease of the bile ducts leads to inflammation and subsequent fibrosis that could cause cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure and biliary cancer.
According to study author Craig Lammert, MD, a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist, while rare, PSC had extremely detrimental effects.
The study was carried out on a large group of US patients with PSC and primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and a group of healthy patients.
Data showed that coffee consumption was associated with reduced risk of PSC, but not PBC. PSC patients were much likelier not to consume coffee than healthy patients were and PSC patients also spent nearly 20 per cent less of their time regularly drinking coffee than the control.
Konstantinos Lazaridis, MD, Mayo Clinic hepatologist and senior study author, said the study suggested PSC and PBC differed more than originally thought.
The study titled, Coffee consumption is associated with reduced risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis but not primary biliary cirrhosis, would be presented by Mayo Clinic researchers at the Digestive Disease Week 2013 conference in Orlando, Florida today.
Dr Lammert, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said in a statement, ''We are always looking for ways to mitigate risk, and our first-time finding points to a novel environmental effect that might also help us to determine the cause of this and other devastating autoimmune diseases.''
The research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).