Coffee and Caffeine Are Associated With Decreased Risk of Advanced Hepatic Fibrosis Among Patients With Hepatitis C

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015 Aug;13(8):1521-31.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2015.01.030. Epub 2015 Mar 14.


Background & aims: Coffee or caffeine has been proposed to protect against hepatic fibrosis, but few data are available on their effects in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of veterans with chronic HCV infection to evaluate the association between daily intake of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, tea, and soda, and level of hepatic fibrosis, based on the FibroSURE test (BioPredictive, Paris, France) (F0-F3, mild [controls] vs. F3/F4-F4, advanced). Models were adjusted for multiple potential confounders including age, alcohol abuse, and obesity.

Results: Among 910 patients with chronic HCV infection, 98% were male and 38% had advanced hepatic fibrosis. Daily intake of caffeinated coffee was higher among controls than patients with advanced fibrosis (1.37 vs. 1.05 cups/d; P = .038). In contrast, daily intake of caffeinated tea (0.61 vs. 0.56 cups/d; P = .651) or soda (1.14 vs. 0.95 cans/d; P = .106) did not differ between the groups. A higher percentage of controls (66.0%) than patients with advanced fibrosis (57.9%) consumed 100 mg or more of caffeine daily from all sources (P = .014); controls also received a larger proportion of their caffeine from coffee (50.2% vs. 43.0%; P = .035). Hepatoprotective effects of an average daily intake of 100 mg or more of caffeine (adjusted odds ratio, 0.71; 95% confidence interval, 0.53-0.95; P = .020) and 1 cup or more of caffeinated tea by non-coffee drinkers (adjusted odds ratio, 0.56; 95% confidence interval, 0.34-0.94; P = .028) persisted after adjustment for confounders, including insulin resistance.

Conclusions: A modest daily caffeine intake (as little as 100 mg) may protect against advanced hepatic fibrosis in men with chronic HCV infection. Additional research is needed to confirm these findings in women and in people with other chronic liver diseases.

Keywords: Digestive System; Endocrinology; Epidemiology; Viruses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Caffeine*
  • Coffee*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / complications*
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paris
  • Risk Assessment


  • Coffee
  • Caffeine