London: Drinking about six cups of espresso coffee daily may help reverse non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition that causes liver scarring, a new study has claimed.
The study in mice found that a daily dose of coffee (equivalent to six cups of espresso coffee for a 70kg person) improved several key markers of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) that were fed a high fat diet.
These mice also gained less weight than others fed the same diet without the dose of caffeine.
The scientists from the University of Napoli in Italy also showed how coffee protects against NAFLD by raising levels of a protein called Zonulin (ZO)-1, which lessens the permeability of the gut.
Experts believe that increased gut permeability contributes to liver injury and worsens NAFLD. People suffering from NAFLD can develop scaring of the liver, also known as fibrosis, which can progress to a potentially life-threatening condition known as cirrhosis.
"Previous studies have confirmed how coffee can reverse the damage of NAFLD but this is the first to demonstrate that it can influence the permeability of the intestine," said Vincenzo Lembo, from the University of Napoli.
"The results also show that coffee can reverse NAFLD-related problems such as ballooning degeneration, a form of liver cell degeneration," Lembo said.
Researchers analysed three different groups of mice over a 12 week period. Group one received a standard diet, group two had a high fat diet and group three was given a high fat diet plus a decaffeinated coffee solution.
Coffee supplementation to a high fat diet significantly reversed levels of cholesterol, alanine aminotransferase (an enzyme which levels increase in the blood when the liver is damaged), and amount of fat in the liver cells.
The combination of coffee and a high fat diet also reduced weight gain over time in the mice.
The study results suggest that coffee supplementation could cause variations in the intestinal tight junctions, which regulate the permeability of the intestine.
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