- New scientific research suggests both caffeine and polyphenols in coffee may help to reduce the severity of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) among overweight participants with type 2 diabetes (T2D) 1.
- This is the first study to assess the potential independent mechanisms of both caffeine and non-caffeine components in reducing the severity of NAFLD, a frequent complication associated with T2D1.
Thursday 12th January 2023: A new study by the University of Coimbra, published in Nutrients, has revealed that caffeine, polyphenols, and other natural products found in coffee may help reduce the severity of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) among overweight people with type 2 diabetes (T2D)1.
NAFLD is a collective term for liver disorders caused by a build-up of fat in the liver. These can lead to liver fibrosis, which can progress to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and liver cancer. NAFLD is not the result of excessive alcohol consumption, but is instead often the result of an unhealthy lifestyle with little exercise and a high-calorie diet.
Study participants with higher coffee intake had healthier livers. Subjects with higher caffeine levels were less likely to have liver fibrosis, while higher levels of non-caffeine coffee components were significantly associated with reduced fatty liver index scores. The study suggests that for overweight T2D patients, a higher intake of coffee is associated with less severe NAFLD1.
Researchers surveyed 156 middle-aged borderline-obese participants on their coffee intake, of which 98 subjects had T2D and provided 24-hour urine samples. This was used to measure caffeine and non-caffeine metabolites – the natural products of the body breaking down coffee. This methodology follows a recent shift to analysing urine rather than self-reported consumption, for more defined, quantitative data on coffee intake1.
Caffeine intake is associated with decreased liver fibrosis in NAFLD and other chronic liver conditions2-5. It has been suggested that other coffee components, including polyphenols, reduce oxidative stress in the liver, in turn reducing the risk of fibrosis6 as well as improving glucose homeostasis in both healthy and overweight subjects7,8. All these factors may also alleviate the severity of T2D.
Corresponding author of the study, John Griffith Jones, PhD., Senior Researcher in the Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, commented: “Due to changes in modern diet and lifestyle, there is an increase in obesity rates and incidence of both T2D and NAFLD, which can ultimately develop into more severe and irreversible conditions, burdening healthcare systems. Our research is the first to observe that higher cumulative amounts of both caffeine and non-caffeine metabolites in urine are associated with a reduced severity of NAFLD in overweight people with T2D.”
This research study is published in Nutrients, titled: ‘Increased intake of both caffeine and non-caffeine coffee components is associated with reduced NAFLD severity in subjects with type 2 diabetes.’ It was sponsored by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC).
Readers interested in finding out more about coffee and health can visit: www.coffeeandhealth.org
Notes to editors
- Moderate coffee consumption can be defined as 3–5 cups per day, based on the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) review of caffeine safety9.
- Read research overviews into the effect of coffee consumption on T2D and liver function on our website.
- ISIC press office team contact information: [email protected].
- John Griffith Jones, PhD., Senior Researcher in the Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology at the University of Coimbra, Portugal.
About the Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology
The Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology of the University of Coimbra (CNC-UC) is a scientific institute that fosters high-level biomedical and biotechnology research with societal impact, promotes multidisciplinary graduate training and provides specialised services to healthcare institutions and the entrepreneurial community. CNC-UC is committed to fundamental research and to translating it into clinical and/or marketable applications.
CNC-UC integrates the Center for Innovation in Biomedicine and Biotechnology (CIBB) R&D Unit, a strategic partnership between CNC-UC and the Coimbra Institute for Clinical and Biomedical Research (iCBR).
CNC-UC unites scientists from the Faculties of Medicine, Pharmacy and Sciences and Technology, the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Coimbra, and from the Coimbra University Hospitals Center and the Portuguese Institute of Oncology. It is also a founding partner of the Biotechnology Park BIOCANT. These unique partnerships have fostered basic and applied science, graduate studies, technology transfer and academic/non-academic collaboration.
All information about CNC-UC is available at: https://www.cnc.uc.pt/en.
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The Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) is a not-for-profit organisation, established in 1990 and devoted to the study and disclosure of science related to “coffee and health.” Since 2003 ISIC also supports a pan-European education programme, working in partnership with national coffee associations in nine countries to convey current scientific knowledge on “coffee and health” to healthcare professionals.
ISIC’s activities are focused on:
- The study of scientific matters related to “coffee and health”
- The collection and evaluation of studies and scientific information about “coffee and health”
- The support of independent scientific research on “coffee and health”
- Active dissemination of balanced “coffee and health” scientific research and knowledge to a broad range of stakeholders
ISIC respects scientific research ethics in all its activities. ISIC’s communications are based on sound science and rely on scientific studies derived from peer-reviewed scientific journals and other publications.
ISIC members are six of the major European coffee companies: illycaffè, JDE Peet’s, Lavazza, Nestlé, Paulig and Tchibo.
The website www.coffeeandhealth.org is a science-based resource developed for healthcare and other professional audiences and provides the latest information and research into coffee, caffeine and health.
Follow us on Twitter: @coffeeandhealth
- Coelho, M. et al. (2022). Increased intake of both caffeine and non-caffeine coffee components is associated with reduced NAFLD severity in subjects with type 2 diabetes. Nutrients. Published online: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/15/1/4
- Molloy, J.W. et al. (2012). Association of coffee and caffeine consumption with fatty liver disease, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and degree of hepatic fibrosis. Hepatol, 55:429-472.
- Soleimani, D. et al. (2019): Dietary patterns in relation to hepatic fibrosis among patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Diab, Metab Synd, Obesity, 12:315-324.
- Khalaf, N. et al. (2015). Coffee and caffeine are associated with decreased risk of advanced hepatic fibrosis among patients with hepatitis C. Clin Gastro & Hepatol, 13:1521-31.
- Shen, H.F. et al. (2016). Association between caffeine consumption and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a systemic review and meta-analysis. Ther Adv Gastroenterol, 9:113-120.
- Salomone, F. et al. (2017): Molecular Bases Underlying the Hepatoprotective Effects of Coffee. Nutrients, 9(1):85
- van Dijk, A.E. (2009). Acute Effects of Decaffeinated Coffee and the Major Coffee Components Chlorogenic Acid and Trigonelline on Glucose Tolerance. Diab Care, 32:1023-1025.
- Inoue, M. and Tsugane, S. (2019): Coffee Drinking and Reduced Risk of Liver Cancer: Update on Epidemiological Findings and Potential Mechanisms. Curr Nutr Rep, 8(3):182-186.
- EFSA (2015). Scientific Opinion on the Safety of Caffeine, EFSA Journal, 13(5):4102.
Method of Research
Subject of Research
Increased Intake of Both Caffeine and Non-Caffeine Coffee Components Is Associated with Reduced NAFLD Severity in Subjects with Type 2 Diabetes
Article Publication Date