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Is Coffee Good for Fatty Liver Disease?

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Drinking coffee doesn’t just give you a boost of energy. Research suggests that coffee intake supports liver health and may lower the risk of fatty liver and chronic liver disease. 


Coffee is a rich source of potent polyphenols and antioxidants, and drinking organic black coffee in moderate amounts can protect liver cells from oxidation and inflammation linked to liver damage. 


Let's look at the health benefits of coffee and how much coffee you should enjoy to support healthy liver function.     

Cup of coffee

Can I have coffee if I have fatty liver disease?


Yes, drinking organic coffee is a great choice to support your liver health if you have fatty liver disease. 


Excessive fat accumulation in liver cells impairs liver function and causes inflammation which can progress to chronic hepatitis and liver fibrosis and greatly increases the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma, a common type of liver cancer. 


“There is evidence that regular coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing liver disease,” says Dr. Berg. “It’s believed that moderate coffee intake supports liver health in individuals with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and alcoholic fatty liver disease.” 


Watch the video below to learn more about coffee’s beneficial effects on liver health! 


Is coffee beneficial for a fatty liver?


Coffee beans are an incredibly rich source of polyphenols and antioxidants. These naturally occurring phytochemicals give coffee its distinct deep flavor and profoundly benefit liver health. 


Polyphenols have been shown to protect the liver from damage, improve liver function, and lower the risk of liver diseases. 


Many polyphenols in coffee have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in liver cells. Chronic hepatic inflammation can lead to liver stiffness and scar tissue, and reducing inflammation is crucial to support normal liver function.  


Nonalcoholic Fatty liver disease is typically a result of metabolic imbalances, a high-carb diet, and insulin resistance


Coffee consumption has been found to support healthy blood sugar regulation and increase your cell's sensitivity to insulin. This significantly lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance, both primary risk factors for developing fatty liver disease.


Polyphenols also have potent antioxidant properties that protect the liver from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. 


Free radicals are harmful metabolic by-products of energy-making processes and detoxification. They can damage liver cells and worsen fatty liver disease. 


While drinking coffee may lower liver fat, it’s important to remember that fatty liver disease can have serious health consequences. If you are concerned about your liver health or suspect you have developed a fatty liver, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider to perform diagnostics and formulate an appropriate treatment plan.  

Chronic liver disease

Four nutrients in coffee that support liver health


Coffee contains minerals and vitamins and is one of the richest sources of dietary polyphenols. 


Research published in Nutrients suggests that frequent coffee consumption in combination with a healthy diet and regular exercise supports liver function and promotes metabolic health, which is associated with a lower risk of fatty liver disease. 


Here are four nutrients in coffee that support your liver health.


1. Chlorogenic acid

Chlorogenic acid is one of the most abundant polyphenols in coffee and a potent antioxidant that protects liver cells from oxidation and inflammation.


This study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that chlorogenic acid defends against liver scarring and cirrhosis and is associated with lower liver stiffness, a marker of liver disease severity. 


2. Caffeine 

While both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee has positive effects on liver health, caffeinated coffee appears to have more profound benefits, indicating caffeine itself may support liver function. 


It’s thought that caffeine increases the production of liver enzymes that help detoxify harmful substances and protect liver cells from free radical damage.


3. Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, is a water-soluble vitamin found in coffee beans that can help improve liver function by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. In fact, evidence suggests that vitamin B3 may reverse liver damage due to fatty liver disease and significantly lowers the risk of cirrhosis. 


Prof. Dr. Dorothea Portious, nutrition expert and clinical scientist, states that “Niacin treatment on dyslipidemic patients reduces both the plasma triglyceride concentration and the hepatic fat content and ameliorates liver enzymes such as hepatic transaminase.”


4. Potassium

Coffee is a rich source of potassium, a crucial mineral and important electrolyte that regulates fluid balance and supports healthy blood pressure levels. 


High blood pressure can contribute to liver damage and worsen fatty liver disease, and maintaining healthy blood pressure is essential for liver health. 

Brewing fresh coffee

How much coffee is safe if you have fatty liver disease?


Drinking one to two cups of freshly brewed coffee daily can support liver health. However, it's important not to drink too much coffee to limit the side effects of caffeine consumption, including insomnia and insulin imbalance, which can worsen fatty liver disease.   


Avoid low-quality instant coffee and non-organic coffee that has often been treated with potent pesticides and herbicides that can negate coffee’s benefits and cause liver inflammation.  


Choose freshly ground and organic coffee beans to brew your morning cup, or make Bullet Proof Coffee to benefit from the highest concentration of polyphenols and other liver-protective nutrients without exposing your liver to harmful toxins.  


While coffee supports liver health, it’s important to note that most research findings relate to black coffee consumption. Highly processed coffee drinks laden with syrups, sugar, artificial flavors, and preservatives may not have the same health-promoting properties as high-quality organic black coffee.  


If you don't drink coffee, there’s no need to start. While coffee contains more polyphenols than most beverages, black and green tea consumption also benefits liver health and can lower the risk of chronic liver disease.     

Coffee beans in liver shape

Key takeaways


Drinking organic coffee is an excellent way to support your liver health and may lower the risk of liver disease and cirrhosis. 


Not only is coffee an incredibly rich source of liver-protective polyphenols, but it also contains vitamin B3, potassium, and caffeine, which have been found to support healthy liver function and protect liver cells from inflammation and oxidation. 



FAQ


1. Does caffeine reduce fatty liver?

Yes, research suggests that caffeine lowers the risk of fatty liver disease, may help reduce fat buildup in liver cells, and improves liver function.


2. What is the best drink for fatty liver?

Freshly brewed, organic black coffee is an excellent choice to support your liver health. 


If you don’t like the taste of coffee, black and green tea or apple cider vinegar and lemon water are excellent alternatives that promote liver function and can help to lower liver inflammation. 


3. What kind of coffee is good for liver health?

Drinking freshly-ground organic coffee boosts your intake of liver-protective nutrients and avoids pesticides that most non-organic coffee beans are treated with. 


It’s also important to note that the health benefits of coffee primarily relate to black coffee, and it’s best to avoid sugar-laden coffee beverages that are typically high in artificial flavorings and preservatives. 

   

4. Is caffeine hard on the liver?

Moderate amounts of organic coffee won’t harm your liver. However, excessive amounts of caffeine can increase blood pressure and imbalance insulin levels, which can significantly impact liver health and worsen fatty liver disease. 


5. Can you drink coffee with an inflamed liver?

Yes, you can drink moderate amounts of organic coffee rich in anti-inflammatory polyphenols to support your liver.  


It’s important to avoid sugary coffee beverages and non-organic coffee beans that are typically exposed to pesticides. Both sugar and pesticides can trigger inflammation in liver cells and worsen an inflamed liver. 

  

6. What coffee is best for fatty liver?

Freshly ground, organic black coffee is rich in nutrients that support liver health and free of harmful pesticides linked to liver inflammation. 

  

7. How much coffee is too much?

While drinking one to two cups of organic coffee can support your liver health, excessive caffeine intake can cause metabolic imbalances and high blood pressure linked to chronic liver disease. 

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