BOSTON, MA—Coffee drinkers significantly decrease their risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and regular drinking also decreases risk of liver fibrosis, according to results of a systematic review and meta-analysis presented at The Liver Meeting® 2016.

“Whether consumption of coffee could be considered as a preventative measure against NAFLD needs further investigations,” reported Karn Wijarnpreecha, MD, of the department of internal medicine at Bassett Medical Center and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Cooperstown, NY, and colleagues.

The investigators noted that NAFLD is a worldwide public health concern. Previous epidemiologic studies have shown “a possible protective effect of coffee against the development of NAFLD,” however, results have been inconsistent.

To investigate a possible association, Dr. Wijarnpreecha and colleagues systematically reviewed studies indexed in MEDLINE and EMBASE from database inception to November 2015 and then conducted two meta-analyses.

The first meta-analysis included observational studies reporting relative risks and odds or hazard ratios of the presence of NAFLD among those who drank coffee on a regular basis vs. those who did not, the study noted. “The second analysis included studies comparing the risk of liver fibrosis between patients with NAFLD who did and did not drink coffee on a regular basis.”

The investigators calculated pooled odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).

Of 355 articles, six studies met eligibility criteria and were included in the analysis. 

Risk of NAFLD among coffee drinkers was found to be significantly lower than those who did not drink coffee (pooled OR 0.71; 95% CI: 0.60, 0.85).

“We also found a significantly decreased risk of liver fibrosis among NAFLD patients who drank coffee on a regular basis compared to those who did not,” they noted; pooled OR was 0.70 (95% CI: 0.60, 0.82).