Health News :Caffeine helps reduce fatty livers

Moderate consumption of caffeine can reduce fatty liver in people diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, researchers have found.

While fatty liver is commonly associated with excessive alcohol consumption, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is diagnosed in people who abstain from alcohol, but are diabetic and obese. An estimated 30 percent of the American adults suffer from this condition. There are no effective treatments for NAFLD except diet and exercise.

The study, headed by Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School and the Duke University of Medicine, suggests that regular consumption of caffeine, an ingredient commonly found in coffee and tea, stimulates the metabolization of lipids stored in liver cells, reducing fatty liver.

The study
For the purpose of the study, researchers used mice that were genetically engineered to have fatty liver.

Besides being fed on a high-fat diet, the mice were administered caffeine regularly.

Using cell culture and mouse models, the researchers observed that regular infusion of caffeine helped in stimulating the metabolization of lipids stored in liver cells. This in turn helped lower the amount of fat stored in the liver.

The findings suggest that a caffeine intake of four cups of coffee or tea a day, an equivalent of the amounts used in the animal study may be beneficial in combating and controlling the progression of NAFLD in humans.

“Consuming the equivalent caffeine intake of four cups of coffee or tea a day may be beneficial in preventing and protecting against the progression of NAFLD in humans,” researchers marked.

“This is the first detailed study of the mechanism for caffeine action on lipids in liver and the results are very interesting,” study’s lead researcher, Paul Yen, associate professor at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore said.

“Coffee and tea are so commonly consumed and the notion that they may be therapeutic, especially since they have a reputation for being ‘bad’ for health, is especially enlightening,” Yen added.

The findings will be published in the September issue of the journal Hepatology.