Patients infected by both human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are at specific risk of end-stage liver disease and greater risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. In addition, HIV infection accelerates the progression of chronic hepatitis C to fibrosis and development of cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease. In these HIV-HCV co-infected patients, drinking at least three cups of coffee each day halved the risk of all-cause mortality according to a new study published in the Journal of Hepatology.

This study is the first to investigate the relationship between coffee consumption and the risk of all-cause mortality in HIV-HCV co-infected patients. “This is a very exciting time for HCV research as a cure that can eradicate the virus is now available for all patients,” explained lead investigator Dominique Salmon-Céron, MD, PhD, of the Service des Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales, Hôpital Cochin, and Université Paris Descartes, Paris, France. “However, even when cured of HCV, patients co-infected with HIV have a higher risk of death with respect to the general population, due to an accelerated aging process that may result from cancer, complications related to diabetes and to liver disease, and from cardiovascular events.”

Coffee is known to have anti-inflammatory and liver-protective properties. In the general population, drinking three or more cups of coffee a day has been found to be associated with a 14% reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality. This is probably due to the properties of polyphenols contained in coffee that can protect the liver and also reduce inflammation.

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