Scientists from the University of Copenhagen and elsewhere found that drinking coffee may help reduce gallstone disease.
The research is published in the Journal of Internal Medicine and was conducted by A T Nordestgaard et al.
A gallstone is a hardened deposit within the fluid in the gallbladder, a small organ under the liver.
Gallstones are hardened deposits of digestive fluid. They can vary in size and number and may or may not cause symptoms.
People who experience symptoms usually require gallbladder removal surgery. Gallstones that don’t cause symptoms usually don’t need treatment.
Coffee has been shown to provide unique health benefits. The beverage could boost energy levels, support brain health, control body weight, protect liver health, and so on.
In this study, researchers wanted to know if drinking coffee is linked to a low risk of gallstone disease.
They tested the hypothesis that a high coffee intake could protect against gallstone disease.
In the first step, the team tested whether high coffee intake was linked to a low risk of gallstone disease in 104,493 people from the general population in 8 years.
In the second step, the team tested whether two genetic variants near CYP1A1/A2 (rs2472297) and AHR (rs4410790) were linked to higher coffee intake.
In the third step, the researchers tested whether the genetic score was linked to a lower risk of gallstone disease in 114,220 people including 7294 gallstone events. The follow-up was 38 years.
The team found that people who drank more than 6 cups of coffee daily had a 23% lower risk of gallstone disease compared to people who did not drink coffee.
The estimated odds ratio for gallstone disease for a one cup per day higher coffee intake was 0.97, equal to a 3% lower risk. The corresponding genetic odds ratio was 0.89, equal to an 11% lower risk.
Based on the findings, the team concluded that high coffee intake is linked to a low risk of gallstone disease, and with genetic evidence to support a causal effect.
This means drinking coffee may help reduce the risk of gallstone disease.
The study findings are in line with other research, which showed that drinking coffee frequently is linked to a reduced risk of developing gallbladder disease.
There is some evidence that coffee triggers the contraction of the gallbladder.
It appears that caffeine is largely responsible for the effect of coffee since consumption of decaffeinated coffee is not linked to a reduced risk of developing gallbladder disease in all studies.
Studies also have found that coffee may have different effects depending on the stage of gallbladder disease.
Increased gallbladder contraction may prevent small crystals from becoming large gallstones in early disease, but if large gallstones are present, gallbladder contraction may cause pain.
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