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. Investigators used data from a five-year follow-up of 1,028 HIV-HCV co-infected patients enrolled in the French national ANRS CO13-HEPAVIH cohort. ANRS CO13-HEPAVIH is an ongoing French nationwide prospective cohort of HIV-HCV co-infected patients that collects both medical and psychosocial/behavioral data over time via annual self-administered questionnaires.
At enrolment, one in four patients reported drinking at least three cups of coffee daily. Over the five years, 77 deaths occurred, almost half attributable to hepatitis C. However, the mortality risk was 80% lower in those who were cured of (i.e. who “cleared”) hepatitis C thanks to treatment. Further analysis showed that drinking at least three cups of coffee daily was associated with a 50% reduction in mortality risk even after taking into account HCV clearance, HIV- and HCV-related factors, and other sociobehavioral factors, such as having a steady partner and not smoking. Healthy behavior change should be promoted by physicians following HCV clearance.
Drinking three or more cups of coffee a day halves mortality risk from all causes in HIV-HCV co-infected patients.
This research highlights the importance of behaviors – coffee consumption and not smoking in particular – on reduced mortality risk. These results can help promote behavioral changes in HIV-HCV patients, which in turn can result in improved survival. With respect to coffee consumption, individuals who do not drink coffee because of caffeine can still benefit from the comparable anti-inflammatory effects of decaffeinated coffee. First author Maria Patrizia Carrieri, PhD, of the HEPAVIH Study Group, Faculté de Médecine, Aix Marseille University, INSERM, IRD, SESSTIM, Marseilles, France, observed that coffee consumption provides more protective effects on mortality in the HIV-HCV population than in the general population. “The results of our study show that while curing HCV is fundamental, it must be complemented by behavioral changes if we are to improve health and survival in HIV-infected patients whether or not they cleared HCV. “I think we need to better monitor coffee consumption, together with other behaviors, such as alcohol use, smoking, physical activity, and to propose interventions to our patients which facilitate healthy behaviors even after HCV clearance. We also suggest that those patients who cannot tolerate a high intake of caffeine should consider drinking a few cups of decaffeinated coffee a day,” commented Dr. Salmon-Céron. “Accordingly, I believe that the benefits of coffee extracts and supplementing dietary intake with other anti-inflammatory compounds need to be evaluated in HIV-HCV patients.”