Consuming more coffee may help reduce the risk of developing gallstones, according to a new study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.
With previous research showing coffee consumption is associated with a low risk of symptomatic gallstone disease (GSD), researchers tested the hypothesis that high coffee intake causally protects against symptomatic GSD using a Mendelian randomisation design.
In an observational analysis of data from 104,493 individuals followed for eight years, the authors found those who drank more than six cups of coffee per day had a 23 per cent lower risk of developing symptomatic gallstones compared with individuals who did not drink coffee. Drinking one extra cup of coffee per day was associated with 3 per cent lower risk.
In genetic analysis of data from 114,220 people, the authors found individuals with certain genetic variants that have been linked to increased coffee consumption had a lower risk of gallstones.
The authors said the concordance between the observational and genetic estimates support that a high coffee intake is likely to causally lower the risk of symptomatic GSD.
“Given the high prevalence and cost of GSD, a potential protective effect of coffee has considerable clinical and public health relevance,” they added.