After a late night of drinking, a couple shots of espresso can be key to actually functioning the next morning. And according to a new scientific review reported on by Reuters, drinking coffee may also help repair the damage all that boozing has done to your liver.
Researchers at Southampton University in the UK have concluded that "drinking two additional cups of coffee a day was linked to a 44% lower risk of developing liver cirrhosis," or chronic liver damage commonly associated with heavy alcohol consumption. Cirrhosis is responsible for more than a million deaths worldwide annually.
The review, which was published last month in a scientific journal called Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, analyzed the results of nine previous studies that consisted of more than 400,000 participants, including nearly 2,000 people afflicted by cirrhosis. Overall, the studies indicated that the more coffee a person consumed, the lower risk they had for developing cirrhosis of the liver: "Compared to no coffee consumption, researchers estimated one cup a day was tied to a 22% lower risk of cirrhosis. With two cups, the risk dropped by 43%, while it declined 57% for three cups and 65% with four cups."
But that doesn't mean you should switch your evening beverage of choice to espresso martinis just yet. Reuters notes that the study wasn't able to determine "exactly how coffee might lead to a healthier liver, or whether the type of beans or brewing method matter," and the researchers warn that the benefits from coffee consumption won't be enough to compensate for excessive alcohol abuse.
While there's a long and sordid history of dubious food studies being paid for by large food manufacturers, this particular scientific review does not acknowledge any funding interests. Coffee has been the focus of research studies galore lately, although its health effects are still hotly in contention: A 2015 report from the federal government's Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee stated consumption of between three and five cups of coffee per day "is tied to several health benefits, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes," but a subsequent study found that genetics play a large role in determining whether or not coffee is good for you or not.