The list of diseases for which healing is linked to coffee consumption grows almost daily. A press release just announced a new study which showed that coffee-drinking patients receiving Hepatitis C fighting drugs were twice as likely to benefit from the treatment as those who don’t drink the brew. Though all of the ramifications from these findings haven’t been determined, it still represents good news for coffee lovers. Specifically the study found that coffee consumption of three or more cups daily is linked with slower progression of chronic liver disease and reduced incidence of liver cancer. There seems to be something in coffee which is linked to lower levels of liver enzymes, the apparent culprit in liver problems. The subjects studied already had hepatitis C; the benefits were in the link with good treatment results of the diseases developing from the hepatitis C. Additional studies are needed to determine coffee’s linkage with earlier stages of hepatitis C treatment. The problem with hepatitis C is that the symptoms are not that severe and those who contract it don’t know there’s a problem until it’s had a chance to progress. Fatigue, nausea and other stomachache complaints are usually the first indications of infection; yellowing of skin and eyes comes later. This is a serious illness because most people contracting it will become chronic sufferers. A small percentage will actually become free of the disease with a built-in immunity to the illness. We’ve reported many times that coffee is linked to lower incidences of liver disease; see http://www.roaste.com/CafeRoaste/News/2011/03/08/Dietitian-Wont-Quit-Cof... for one example. This study is a little different because it looked at hepatitis C patients already being treated with medications. Newer medications are now available and the same tests need to be conducted with these patients. This will give researchers a better picture of what the link between coffee and better healing really means. A common factor in most of the research has been the daily coffee consumption amount; it has normally been in the three to five cups range. This is a moderate amount. The study didn’t specify whether the subjects drank decaf or caf, so the importance of caffeine has not been determined. Brew on in good health!