Coffee May Protect Against Liver Disease in Heavy Drinkers, Study Says

But the benefits of coffee may only be for male drinkers

There's never been a stronger case for guzzling coffee to beat a hangover — a new study from Finland shows that coffee may have protective effects against liver disease in heavy drinkers. 

The study, published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, examined more than 18,000 Finnish adults and their coffee and liquor consumption, as well as their blood levels of the liver enzyme gamma-glutamyl transferase, or GGT. (My Health News Daily points out that drinking can cause higher levels of GGT in the blood stream, and those with alcoholic liver disease have higher levels of GGT.) The male drinkers in the study were found to have GGT levels three times higher than men who don't drink; however, those male drinkers who also drank coffee had 50 percent lower levels of GGT. The researchers believe it may be that caffeine lowers levels of GGT in the blood stream. 

Some caveats to the study? For one, the benefits of coffee and lower GGT levels didn't apply to female drinkers (sorry, ladies). And the researchers noted that they're not sure whether other factors, such as smoking, older age, and weight, played a role in lower GGT levels. And of course, higher GGT levels don't necessarily cause liver disease. So, take your cup of coffee with a grain of salt (or sugar, we guess) — but at least a cup of coffee will make you happy!

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