Is coffee good for the liver?
Now in life we are always looking for shortcuts. One of them is asking: Is coffee good for the liver?
I know when I was told I had 48 hours to live as my liver was failing I must have looked up every antidote going from milk thistle to water. The web is great for this kind of stuff but it’s also very dangerous.
The fact you’re reading this means that you are worried about your liver and you may be looking for a fast source of help. However, I won’t completely endorse every new fad out there and I will tell you why later.
Coffee is a standard fixture in many lives around the world so it seems good that drinking a few extra cups a day could be good for the liver right?
I found out to my peril we only have one liver and if we lose its function it is not guaranteed we would ever get a transplant. It basically completely detoxes the body and everything that goes into it. Its an amazing organ! Imagine your liver not working and you turn completely yellow, that was me.
Is coffee good for the liver? The science seems to say yes sort of!
The study showed and was quoted by the National Health Service in England that having high levels of coffee intake was seen to be beneficial for 19 health situations including the liver but it did have what could be considered as harmful results in others.
If you have a serious health issue do check with your doctor first.
They also checked 34 health areas for high versus low coffee intake and this seemed to make no difference to the results or it was so in between that you could not call it either way.
The research was carried out by the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh and had no specific funding however the final take is that having a few cups of coffee a day could help protect your liver as it is packed full of antioxidants. Is coffee good for the liver? Yes according to this.
However, this should not be the thing you depend on, so bashing your liver with bad stuff won’t be cured overnight by a few cups of coffee although it has been highlighted in a positive way for fatty liver disease. So with guidance drink away!
Alcohol is not good for the liver – period
What if you are a massive social drinker? I did not drink out of the ordinary or so I though so no coffee was going to tell me not to drink alcohol. However, be aware that the damage so Alcohol Cirrhosis is a real killer and it can creep up on people without you even knowing.
I once had a very sober colleague who just had a few glasses of wine per night with dinner only to be told by her doctor that officially she was an alcoholic !
Now people love chucking that label around big time and I don’t think it’s ever helpful. Sticking a label on anyone is never a good idea when it comes down to health as they begin to wrap that into who they are.
Always separate out your behaviour from identity.
However, it does make you think that the alcohol guidelines are there for a reason and I was a social drinker but with a mix of stress and other complications my liver began to fail.
So coffee won’t really help you that much if your liver is working so hard to pump that alcohol out your body and we are talking massive amounts nowadays. Bars are full of offers to “have a large glass of wine and get the bottle free” and as my health consultant, pointed out we would be amazed how big wine glasses have become over the years
Can you drink too much coffee?
Yes is the answer. I would work a very early shift and my day would consist of coffee and coffee plus I had a protein bar after the gym laced with coffee. I started to shake very badly.
I went to the doctor and told him how much caffeine was in my system he said “no wonder you’re shaking that has to cut right back”. It’s that feeling you get after too many shots of espresso. It can make you feel very anxious and panicky so you need to be careful.
In fact, at a test in the city where I lived at the time Newcastle University was fined for a caffeine test that went badly wrong. Instead of participants being given 3g of caffeine they were given 30g.
That’s a massive 300 cups of coffee and it had a very serious side effects and could have been fatal for the people involved.
The participants ended up in intensive care and while the University stated they had enormous care for the student it was fine of £400,000.
So yes is the answer to the question: Is coffee good for the liver? However please get some balance.
Does it heal your liver completely?
I know from experience the liver gets to the point when you cannot heal it despite how many cups of coffee you have.
I was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis and the only way I could live was to give up alcohol completely which is why I am committed to my 0.0 blog in terms of alcohol.
Now it was not because I might go off on a bender or not be able to control my drink as I have not had a drink for over a year and a half and I am not bothered. What really frustrated me is that the market does not really cater for non-alcoholic drinkers in an alcohol fueled world.
The liver can repair itself with a certain amount of damage but once it is severely damaged you are looking at early death or if you are lucky a liver transplant.
However, there are very strict conditions on that and you would never be able to drink either before or after the transplant or the rest of your life. Not to mention all the complications that go with having a new liver.
I was lucky that because of the medical care I received and my own commitment I did not need a live transplant but you may not be so lucky.
So is coffee good for the liver? The answer is yes it seems but once your liver is broken it’s broken and no amount of coffee is going to save you.
Be aware of the liver detox roller coaster!
Now a quick search will reveal probably a hundred liver detox programmes so that’s a good thing right? Not especially. I was in hospital not knowing if I could hopefully live and I was assigned a dietitian.
I have never had one before and I have to say she was very impressive and knew everything about what I was supposed to be eating with liver disease.
Now she mentioned the coffee thing briefly but apart from that there was no try this or try that supplements is was just good diet advice. So vegetable protein and of course plenty of water.
With poor liver fiction you also have to look at your body wasting away as the production of glycerin can be an issue so regular snacks are important as well as avoiding sugar although she was realistic about that one and I do probably still consume a bit too much.
Some things I took before ill health included :
- Aloe Vera
- Milk Thistle
What I should have been doing was :
- Getting a balanced diet
- Drinking more water
- A few cups of coffee
- Alcohol zero
It wasn’t an issue for me but sugar can be bad for liver fatty disease. It is also important to remember that people have liver issues for all sorts of reasons including hepatitis so don’t jump to conclusions if you are of a judgmental nature.
Whenever I mention I have liver disease you can see people thinking park benches and vodka in their eyes!
I now find their approach amusing but I have also experienced extreme prejudice around my liver, social drinking and even now why I don’t drink. Talk about a no win.
Be yourself and know your own mind.
Remember your liver has to deal with whatever is put into it, so I am not knocking liver detoxes but always get medical advice and it begs the question if all these detoxes are so good why when I was in hospital did no one ever mention them?
Just be aware of the more outlandish claims and remember I am talking as someone who can gone through this and not a medical professional
If sugar or social drinking is an issue for you including eating vast amounts of things you should not, one of the best therapist and coaches in the country Mark Tyrell has a great course around additive habits and even if you don’t purchase the course the surrounding information is fantastic and I trained with him very early on in my career.
To find out more just click the banner below.
So is coffee good for the liver?
It seems it is at least worth a go and depending on where you are with your liver if appears to be the only one detox health experts can somewhat agree on.
Clearly there are issues around too much caffeine and ending up in intensive care but avoid the detox and go for a nice cup of coffee and a blanched diet. Oh and watch the drink!
I would love to know your thoughts on whether coffee is good for the liver. Have you ever tried some liver detox supplements or programmes and did they work for you? What’s your story, I love building a community here and I guess after all coffee is alcohol free! A large espresso please!
Leave your comments below.