Friday, October 31, 2014

Coffee and Liver Disease This recent study establishes a negative relationship between coffee drinkers and liver disease. Interesting. One is tempted to assume a cause and effect relationship, but that may not be the case at all. A statistical relationship only shows the occurrence, not the cause, and if there is a causal relationship it cannot be clear which is the cause and which is the effect. Thus, persons with liver problems may avoid coffee on the one hand, or persons who drink coffee may experience protection from some kinds of liver damage, or the relationship may be coincidental. For instance, a relationship between divorced men and tuberculosis neither implies that TB causes divorce, nor that divorce causes TB.

The health effects may, however, be real. Studies seem to support coffee as heart healthy. Indeed, as a complex leguminous product the bean contains, as do vegetables, many active ingredients with unknown benefits. On the other hand, insecticides, herbicides and other chemicals absorbed by and concentrated in the bean probably do more harm than good. Obviously, organic or chemical free coffee impart greater benefit to the consumer. Many of the cautions against coffee consumption seem overblown. High caffeine content may risk cardiac arrhythmias in those prone to such disorders, but organic decaffeination has come a long way.