Drink Up!

Green tea and coffee have a lot of advocates and a number of articles suggest that each can have beneficial effects for the liver.  This month’s Hepatology describes how a green tea component, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), inhibits hepatitis C viral (HCV) entry. ECGC acts by blocking viral attachment to target cells with all HCV genotypes; it does not affect viral replication.  Other components of green tea do not have this effect.  A complete description of green tea components is described in the discussion of the article, Hepatology 2012: 54: 1947-55.  Also, there have been preliminary dosing studies in healthy volunteers which have shown that EGCG is safe at doses of 800mg daily for four weeks.  This would be the equivalent of drinking 8-16 cups of green tea per day (Clin Cancer Res 2003; 9: 3312-19).  In order to eliminate HCV, however, even higher amounts of EGCG would be likely.


Coffee also has been studied and has been associated with decreasing liver fibrosis.  In addition, coffee may enhance response to HCV treatments.  To my knowledge, there have not been extensive studies of either coffee or green tea for pediatric patients.

Additional References:

  • -Gastroenterology 2011; 140: 1961. Coffee (3 cups/day) increases response to PEG/RBV in HCV
  • -Hepatology 2009; 51: 201. Coffee decreases fibrosis. n=177.
  • -Hepatology 2009; 50: 1360. Coffee intake associated with slower progression of HCV liver disease
  • -Hepatology 2009; 50: 970. Coffee -2 cups per day decreases risk of liver fibrosis & HCC. Coffee has methylxanthin which inhibits connective tissue growth factor.