back to article Coffee fixes the damage booze did to your liver, study finds

If your liver's packing it in after a lifetime of boozing, changing your poison may yet keep you alive a little longer. So says Dr Alex Hodge, a consultant gastroenterologist and liver disease specialist at Monash Health, a unit of Australia's Monash University. Hodge and her colleagues studied 1,100 patients with either …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Coat

    Okay, got it

    One whisky, one coffee.

    I'm off to start my training.

    1. Diogenes

      Re: Okay, got it

      Halve the exercise period one whiskey IN one coffee :-)

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Okay, got it

        one whiskey IN one coffee

        Since saturated fats are also now supposed to be good for us, does this make Irish Coffee the perfect balanced meal?

        1. 0laf Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Okay, got it

          Staying fit and healthy just got a whole lot better

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Okay, got it

            >consider diet and exercise rather than extra lattes or flat whites.

            Past studies that have suggested coffee is good for you usually suggest it works better when you don't add milk.

            1. BillG Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: Okay, got it

              "One bourbon, one scotch, one latte..."

              Not as catchy as the original.

              1. Vic

                Caffeine and alcohol are a dangerous combination

                "One bourbon, one scotch, one latte..."

                I went skiing in Italy a few years ago. One day, I'd had a hankering for Black Russians all afternoon.

                We went to a bar where the barman prided himself on knowing about cocktails. So I asked for my Black Russian, and watched his face fall...

                He looked it up in his book, and then came over to our table looking sheepish. Apparently, they didn't have any Tia Maria, but they did have a local coffee liqueur, and would that do? Of course, I agreed.

                It turned out that the local liqueur was made from espresso. So I was drinking a large slug of vodka with a significant percentage of a Bulgarian funbag of caffeine.

                Three of those, and I was climbing the walls...

                Vic.

      2. Les Matthew

        Re: Okay, got it

        "Halve the exercise period one whiskey IN one coffee :-)"

        Philistine!

    2. Roger Greenwood

      Re: Okay, got it

      So I wonder which one really causes the trembling?

  2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Short on the key metrics.

    What's needed to counter a 2 litre bottle of cider?

    1. seven of five

      Re: Short on the key metrics.

      another one, of course.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Short on the key metrics.

      What's needed to counter a 2 litre bottle of cider?

      A good piss followed by a full english breakfast usually works.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Short on the key metrics.

        You'll need more than that if you drink a container of scrumpy

        1. BenR

          Re: Short on the key metrics.

          Don't keep it in a metal container...

          1. Kane Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Short on the key metrics.

            Don't keep it in a metal container...

            Mostly Apples, yes?

    3. Graham Bartlett

      Re: Short on the key metrics.

      Judging by most cider drinkers I've seen, the ability to spell your own name.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Short on the key metrics.

        "Judging by most cider drinkers I've seen, the ability to spell your own name.", what could that mean?

        applez fur drinkin' not eatin' ;)

    4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Short on the key metrics.

      > What's needed to counter a 2 litre bottle of cider?

      A nice kip under the park bench while wrapped in newspaper?

    5. pirate hill

      Re: Short on the key metrics.

      You'll need to see the toilet.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder

    who funded this research?

    1. Sir Barry

      Re: I wonder

      Nescafe...

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: I wonder

        Nescafe don't make coffee.

        1. keith_w

          Re: I wonder

          I suppose that depends on your opinion of the coffee bean based product that Nescafe produces. They certainly make something that they call coffee in North America.

          1. Vic

            Re: I wonder

            They certainly make something that they call coffee in North America.

            I make something I call "premium lager".

            it flows into the urinal in regular batches...

            Vic.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I wonder

          "Nescafe don't make coffee."

          I know, I've tasted it.

  4. TechnicalBen Silver badge

    Possible NO!

    Why? The liver recovers naturally for any switch to anything other than more booze.

    So it could be coffee, water or Mountain Dew (gah!).

    Though the study could be correct, I am very sceptical until I've seen the data/proof in simple clear and blind test/bias cleared detail.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Possible NO!

      I guess someone with a skill level above the average commentard would have thought about that.

      > blind test/bias

      This is not a medication test. "Half the patients will drink real coffee, and half will be given a yet-to-be-invented placebo". I don't think so.

      Also, I remember reading about a study giving the exact same result way back when, possibly even before the War On Stuff.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Possible NO!

        This is not a medication test. "Half the patients will drink real coffee, and half will be given a yet-to-be-invented placebo".

        Yet to be invented?

        What do you call Gold Blend and all the other "instant coffee" if not a placebo for real coffee?

        1. Simon Harris Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: Possible NO!

          "What do you call Gold Blend and all the other "instant coffee" if not a placebo for real coffee?"

          I thought the point of the placebo was that you couldn't taste the difference between it and the real substance under test.

          The result of drinking poor coffee substitutes --------------------------------------->

      2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        Re: Possible NO!

        Esme Hadfield didn't make the link between wood dust and nasal cancer in a double blind test. There are well understood statistical methods. Not read the coffee research so no idea if they were applied properly.

    2. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: Possible NO!

      They could have at least linked to this page, although the data isn't there either. You'd probably have to wade through the proceedings of The Liver Meeting, which sounds like a great jolly.

      Perhaps their lunches were enjoyed with fava beans and a nice chianti?

    3. Infernoz Bronze badge

      Re: Possible NO!

      Coffee contains loads of antioxidants, and probably has higher antioxidant content if made fresh from ground coffee beans via an expresso or other pressure based coffee brewer like an Aeropress. Decent coffee does not need milk to be drinkable. You can also brew coffee cold too, but that takes 18 hours and needs more ground coffee beans.

      Instant coffee probably has less antioxidant content, which is one of the reasons it tends to taste less nice and needs milk and may need sweetening.

      Coffee also protects the brain e.g. you're less likely to go senile etc.

  5. Mark 85 Silver badge

    I think I'll do a one-man test... coffee with Baileys Irish Cream and bacon. Might as well not sweat things and enjoy life a bit more.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      I think I'll do a one-man test...

      Coffee with bacon in it? Oh dear...

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: I think I'll do a one-man test...

        Coffee with bacon in it? Oh dear.

        Is that better or worse than bacon with coffee in it?

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: I think I'll do a one-man test...

        I blame not enough coffee... that should have read "and a side order of bacon".

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fixes what damage and in what way ? Very thin on scientific details and no references.

    Until hard evidence emerges, file under "hey baldy, cow piss makes your hair regrow".

  7. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Pint

    Good for your liver, irritates your intestines

    Perhaps we'll just have to inject it.

    I can give up coffee anytime I want...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't just blame the alcohol

    The disease is fatty-liver disease, why does the liver become fatty? because one of the jobs of the liver is to process dietary fats (which travels via the lymphatic system to get there, not the blood stream). The liver packages the fat into Chlyomicrons for export into the blood stream for use by the body. However before it does so it does a kind of "stress test" on the lipids to check they're stable and not oxidised/oxidisable. If the test fails the Chlyomicron is re-absorbed into the liver as the body seems to think oxidised/oxidisable lipids are a no-no.

    When alcohol is metabolised it produces a high level of reactive species (free radicals). If your diet consists of high levels of Heart healthy, cholesterol lowering poly-unsaturated(TM) (easily oxidised) fat these fats are easily oxidised/damaged and you set up a perfect storm if you drink heavily.

    The damaged fats accumulate in the liver as it can't/wont export them and presto fatty liver disease.

    A diet rich in saturated fat is apparently nearly wholly protective from alcolholic fatty liver disease and apparently just one meal rich in saturated fat can measurably protect the liver from a single bout of heavy drinking.

    A diet rich in polyunsaturates is used to accelerate fatty-liver disease in rodents for study.

    Makes you think.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't just blame the alcohol

      Makes you think.

      Deep fried Mars bar starts to make sense.

      Although deep fried corned beef fritters should work as well. Perhaps a simpler approach still would be simply mixing an entire block of lard with a similar amount of flour, half the amount of milk, and a teaspoon of salt, pressing the mix back into the same cuboid shape as the original lard block. The resultant block to be deep fried to form a solid ingot of saturated fat batter, sold under the brand of "Ledswinger's Drinker's Friend".

      This could be bigger than Pukka Pies in the after pub grub market.

      1. Roger Varley

        "Ledswinger's Drinker's Friend"

        Just thinking about that makes me feel ill!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Ledswinger's Drinker's Friend"

          "Ledswinger's Drinker's Friend"....Just thinking about that makes me feel ill!

          Its only a solid manifestation of the phenomenon offered as "batter bits" by many chip shops. Could I interest you in LDF Crunch, which follows the original recipe, but has pork scratchings mixed in for additional taste and texture?

          Or LDF Veggie (still lard based, but deep fried in some expensive and fashionable nut or vegetable oil)

          LDF for Real Men (basic recipe, but deep fried in used engine oil)

          LDF Protein Mix (with a scotch egg at the centre of the ingot)

          LDF Low Fat (regular mix and method same actual fat content, just branded differently and sold at a higher price point)

          LDF Ethical (again regular mix and method, just branded differently and sold at an even higher price point)

          1. Roger Varley

            Re: "Ledswinger's Drinker's Friend"

            You sir, owe me a new keyboard. My current one is now soaked with a sinus load of warm brown that made a rapid exit through my nasal passages on reading the above!

            Mind you, LDF Crunch may sound interesting after a night on the town.

          2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
            Coffee/keyboard

            Re: "Ledswinger's Drinker's Friend"

            LDF for Real Men (basic recipe, but deep fried in used engine oil)

            Aaaand we have a winner! Quality :).

          3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: "Ledswinger's Drinker's Friend"

            > LDF

            As in LD 50? The term used in medical resarch for the dosage that kills 50% of the test subjects..

      2. Marcus Fil

        Re: Don't just blame the alcohol

        'The resultant block to be deep fried to form a solid ingot of saturated fat batter, sold under the brand of "Ledswinger's Drinker's Friend".'

        Though I hesitate to mention it anyone familiar with some of the more obscure items on the menu in Eastern Germany/Polish border might suggest they have beaten you to it. At least we now know why - because obviously I was not drinking enough at the time of sampling to appreciate the beneficial effects.

      3. keithpeter
        Coat

        Re: Don't just blame the alcohol

        "The resultant block to be deep fried to form a solid ingot of saturated fat batter, sold under the brand of "Ledswinger's Drinker's Friend"."

        It will be snapped up by the bodybuilder/arctic explorer/heavy labourer contingents. Pemmican for the lazy I guess.

        Here's one: I'm losing weight in a controlled kind of way to try to lower BP and offset a family history of type 2 diabetes.

        Decided not to have any alcohol this month as a sort of Movember thing. Symptoms: none (we are moderate drinkers, well below max units except now and again when a session erupts) except having more money left when we do the weekly shop.

        Tried no tea/coffee for a week a couple of months ago. Symptoms: raging headache and thirst for 24 hours, then amazing desire for salty snacks next day. OK on Day 3 and for the rest of the week.

        Makes you think...

    2. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Don't just blame the alcohol

      Makes you think.

      It does indeed. A couple of months ago a newspaper published an article on the "alarming increase in alcohol-related liver disease" accompanied by an interesting graph. The graph showed a straight-line plot rising from around 1990 to 2012. Disappointingly there was no detailed discussion or analysis of the data, but I bet that women would be strongly represented as the impact of the "we can drink as much as men" and "shots culture" takes its toll.

      BUT, behind the straight-line plot was a y=x2 curve of all liver disease, presented without comment. I'm wondering if your account throws some light on this.

      It worries me that medical science seems to have things so wrong when it comes to basic nutrition (everyday medicine, if you will) on things like fats.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Don't just blame the alcohol

        It worries me that medical science seems to have things so wrong when it comes to basic nutrition (everyday medicine, if you will) on things like fats.

        And on a great many other apparently-straightforward questions regarding human diet.

        The obvious conclusion would seem to be that nutrition and diet are complicated matters; that different subjects will respond differently to particular dietary configurations; that factors such as genetics, epigenetics, (other) environmental influences, and health history make an enormous difference in a subject's response; and that simple explanations of dietary effects are thus highly suspect.

        Of course, we also have the problem that most people peddling dietary advice are quacks who can't even be bothered to find out that many of their precious rules have long been debunked. I don't know how many times I've seen articles repeating the "eight glasses of water" myth, or the "spinach is full of iron" one, and so on.

        I have known people to get useful advice from time to time from dieticians, but it's been general advice for specific conditions, and carefully presented in terms of individual variation and cautions against simplistic interpretations.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      test animals not representative of humans

      for example, a spring loaded wire will kill over 99% of white mice in tests but will cause 100% of humans to call you a c**t to your face.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'health problems stem from bacon-munching'.

    Blasphemer. Everyone knows that bacon counts for all of your 5 a day.

  10. chivo243 Silver badge
    Pint

    I'm buggered

    I never drink coffee, one cup in 50+ years isn't going to offset my beer consumption, might as well set up another round...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm buggered

      I don't think coffee is much help if you're buggered, although I must admit that that assertion is based on theory only.

      1. VeganVegan

        Re: I'm buggered

        Coffee enema?

        (Amazon has loads of offerings)

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: I'm buggered

          Coffee enema?

          That seems dangerous. Someone could absorb quite a lot of caffeine very quickly that way, depending on the volume of coffee involved. I suppose many people would just get a buzz from the resulting adrenaline surge,1 but it seems like for many it could also produce the usual adrenaline side effects, like hyperventilation and heart palpitations, and possibly more serious events.

          Also, it seems like rather a waste of good coffee.

          1AIUI, caffeine, quite a small molecule, crosses the blood-brain barrier and binds to adenosine receptors in the brain. That both blocks the calming effects of adenosine and causes the brain to stimulate the adrenal glands. But I'm no endocrinologist, so someone may correct me on that point.

  11. MAF
    Go

    Bacon

    Now we just need a bacon angle...

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Bacon

      "Now we just need a bacon angle..."

      You should always have one in a well-stocked toolbox.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The rest of my body might be falling to bits but it's good to know that I probably have the liver of a ninja!

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      I probably have the liver of a ninja!

      ...But you can't find it, right?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I probably have the liver of a ninja!

        Would you /want/ to find it?

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: I probably have the liver of a ninja!

          > Would you /want/ to find it?

          ObPathfinderReference: How else is he gonna get the sneak damage is he can't find the internal organs?

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Yugguy

    Fatty livers getting more prevelant?

    Perhaps it's because after having battled through traffic with some cunt in an Audi right up your arse, spending 9 hours working for some cunt of a manager and finally battling back home with another cunt in an Audi right up your arse, the first thing you reach for when you get home is alcohol?

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge

      Re: Fatty livers getting more prevelant?

      Presumably you live in a house in the cuntry.

      1. gerryg

        Re: Fatty livers getting more prevelant?

        Drinking "Waterloo Sunset" cocktails?

      2. pirate hill

        Re: Fatty livers getting more prevelant?

        Thanks for the laugh!

  15. Tromos

    "consider diet and exercise rather than extra lattes or flat whites"

    Phew! That's OK then, I've been considering them for years.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How long before...

    "Alert, alert: drinking 3 cups of coffee per day is dangerous and can seriously damage your <insert random organ here>?"

    Call me cynical if you will but that's the trend I've been spotting with these kinds of stories. Do note that I'm not claiming that this can't be true or such, I simply don't know. But more than often will you hear one party which claims that $substance is good for your health and a few months later another party will announce the opposite.

    1. Roger Varley

      Re: How long before...

      I think you are confusing the phenomenon with the start/end of a research grant cycle.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How long before...

      "<insert random organ here>"

      That's what she said.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: How long before...

      But more than often will you hear one party which claims that $substance is good for your health and a few months later another party will announce the opposite.

      Both can be true, particularly if "your" refers to different subjects (but even if not). Health is complicated. It's not a zero-sum game.

  17. Custard Fridge

    Christmas is coming

    Top Health Tip - add a bottle of Tia Maria to the Christmas shopping list...

  18. wolfetone Silver badge

    Irish Coffee

    The gift that keeps on giving.

  19. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    A sad blow to the PG Tips lobby.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't like the colour of them - or my kidneys

  21. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Espresso + Grappa = Espresso coretto

    Also: blind trials have limitations

  22. nilfs2
    Thumb Up

    We have the perfect solution!

    Coffee liquor!!

    http://www.salicsa.com/en/product/liqueurs.html

  23. idlehands

    I like the picture of the coffee beans. They look like luxury. Who is the photographer pls?

    1. Vic

      I like the picture of the coffee beans

      First post, registered just to post this.

      That's not an old spammers' trick at all. Sadly, the edit window closes real quick here...

      Vic.

  24. Anewguy88

    WHERE'S THE LINK TO THE STUDY?

    If you want to post things like this.....then provide the "study that you're getting your info from. Get with it folks. This is the real world, not high school English class where you can get away with not citing sources! I should've have to hunt down and guess what exactly you got your info from. I won't call you an idiot, because I'm above that.

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