Increased caffeine intake may reduce fatty liver in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, according to a group of researchers led by Dr Paul Yen from the Duke University Medical Center.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the major cause of fatty liver not due to excessive alcohol consumption. Currently there are no effective treatments for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease except diet and exercise.
Using cell culture and mouse models, Dr Yen team’s observed that caffeine stimulates the metabolization of lipids stored in liver cells and decreased the fatty liver of mice that were fed a high-fat diet.
The results, published in the journal Hepatology, suggest that consuming the equivalent caffeine intake of 4 cups of coffee or tea a day may be beneficial in preventing and protecting against the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
“This is the first detailed study of the mechanism for caffeine action on lipids in liver and the results are very interesting,” Dr Yen explained.
“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.”
“This study could lead to the development of caffeine-like drugs that do not have the usual side effects related to caffeine, but retain its therapeutic effects on the liver. It could serve as a starting point for studies on the full benefits of caffeine and related therapeutics in humans.”
Bibliographic information: Rohit Anthony Sinha et al. Caffeine stimulates hepatic lipid metabolism via autophagy-lysosomal pathway. Hepatology, published online August 8, 2013