Patients living with both HIV and hepatitis C who drank three or more daily cups of coffee were twice as likely to survive than those that drank less coffee, a new study found.
About one quarter of HIV patients also have hepatitis C (HCV), which attacks the liver.
Coffee is known to help protect the liver, and to act as an anti-inflammatory.
The study, from the French National Institute of Health and National Agency for AIDS and Hepatitis Research, found that patients that sought treatment for their HCV, drank at least three cups of coffee a day, and did not smoke fared far better than their counterparts.
Coffee can help reduce the liver’s production of damaging enzymes and prevent it from developing insulin resistance. Coffee is also a general anti-inflammatory, so it helps to combat the liver inflammation caused by hepatitis C
Recent research has associated coffee with better life expectancy in general, suggesting that coffee consumption should be part of a healthy diet.
Patients infected with HIV are more vulnerable to other infections like, HCV, which inflames the liver, increasing the risk of liver disease and liver cancer.
People infected with both HIV and hepatitis C that drink three cups of coffee every day had 50 percent better survival rates than those whose who drank less, according to a new study.
Healthy diet is important to the prevention and maintenance of liver, which can develop fatty build-ups if it is trying to process too much of certain substances, like sugar.
In the US, about half of all patients that contracted HIV from needle sharing are also diagnosed with HCV, which can be transmitted in the same way.
Treatments for both HCV and HIV have greatly improved, extending life-expectancies for patients infected with either or both disease to almost normal ages. Hepatitis C is even curable in most patients.
Still, both infections put people at a higher risk for deadly liver diseases.
Even when HCV is cured, HIV leads to ‘an accelerated aging process,’ the study says, that can lead to heart problems and continued liver deterioration.
But, in the study of 1,028 patients, those that had ‘elevated’ coffee consumption – more than three cups a day – were half as likely to succumb to their infections during the five-year course of the research.
It’s unclear whether coffee itself or its caffeine has beneficial effects for the liver, but coffee seems to help reduce the enzymes overproduced by an unhealthy liver, and slow the development of scar tissue that occurs in diseased livers.
According to the European Association for the Study of the Liver research, coffee may also help to prevent the liver from becoming resistant to insulin.
In this study, lead author Dr Maria Patrizia Carrieri of Aix Marseille University in Marseille, France, says that subjects that drank more than three cups of coffee had better survival rates regardless of whether or not the coffee was caffeinated.
It’s not just drinking coffee that helps improve life expectancy for those with HIV and hepatitis C, the study finds, but drinking an ‘elevated’ amount. A new study found that patients that drink three or more cups each day fare significantly better than even those who drink two cups daily, as illustrated above
Caffeine is typically the culprit of more negative health effects of coffee, like anxiety or trouble sleeping. Coffee is also addicting, so trying to go without it can result in withdrawal symptoms like headaches.
Most importantly, the positive effects of coffee can be diminished our counteracted by adding other ingredients to your cup, especially sugar or syrups that are actually damaging to the liver.
Patients had an 80 percent better survival rate if they drank three or more cups of coffee a day and had been cured of HCV. Patients that still suffered from both HIV and HCV and drank three or more cups still had a 50 percent better survival rate than those drinking less coffee.
The study also tracked the smoking status of the patients and found that not smoking greatly increased the odds of a patients survival. Though less strongly correlated, life style factors like having a steady partner were also linked to better survival rates.
Dr Carrieri says her study is a reminder that ‘effective interventions towards healthier behaviors need to be promoted in [the HIV-positive] population, even after HCV cure,’ in order to give those living with HIV the best chance to continue living.