The Liver is a vital organ and has a variety of essential functions to keep us fit and healthy.
Whilst detoxifying the blood and breaking down proteins, it also produces biochemical agents necessary for digestion.
The liver is a regenerative organ, meaning that if it is partially damaged it will regenerate, and restore to its former size and function, given time and a healthy diet.
The liver is the main organ responsible for the breakdown and process of alcohol in the body, and excessive consumption over a period of time is likely to cause serious damage.
There is evidence to suggest however, that coffee could play a part in preventing liver cirrhosis (an advancement of liver disease) .During liver cirrhosis, scar tissue and regenerative nodules form on the liver due to an attempt to repair damaged tissue.
A study of 125,000 people over 22 years showed that those people consuming at least one cup of coffee per day were 20% less likely to develop liver cirrhosis.
The founder of the study, Arthur L Klatsky, is of the opinion that it is the protective properties of coffee that help prevent alcoholic cirrhosis.
Coffee has also been used in studies concerning non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), by an international team of researchers at Drake NUS Graduate Medical School.
So just what is in coffee that appears to be preventing the damaging effects of alcohol, or an unhealthy lifestyle?
One theory suggests that it is the caffeine in the drink which causes a release of a molecule called adenosine.
Adenosine prevents the inflammation that leads to kidney damage, and is currently under clinical investigation to see how its topical administration affects wound- healing deficiencies, such as diabetes mellitus in humans.
Experts do agree however, that an unhealthy diet, substituted with coffee, is not the final cure for potentially fatal kidney failure or cirrhosis of the liver.
More research into the potential healing properties of coffee may yield more information in the future.