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Editor's Correspondence
November 27, 2006

Coffee and Cirrhosis: Active Ingredients?—Reply

Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(21):2405. doi:10.1001/archinte.166.21.2405-a

In reply

We thank Vinson for his interest in our work and for his endorsement of the conclusion that our data support the existence of a protective effect of some coffee ingredient against chronic liver disease, especially alcohol-induced cirrhosis. Wishing to avoid going beyond our evidence, we minimized speculations about mechanisms. We stated our opinion that the issue of whether caffeine or some other coffee ingredient was involved remains unresolved in our data and the work of others. Similarly unresolved is the basis of putative protection by coffee against suicide,1,2 Parkinson disease,3 diabetes mellitus,4 and pancreatitis.5 Because oxidative stress might be involved in mechanisms of hepatocyte damage from noxious agents, Vinson's suggestion of protection by phenolic compounds in coffee with antioxidant properties has plausibility. We most definitely concur with Vinson's statement of the need for more coffee research; both laboratory work and clinical research might be fruitful.

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