Taking that Coffee or Tea Break May Not be so Bad for You After All- by Dr. Richard Firshein

Many of my patients wonder whether their daily coffee or tea breaks are actually good for them. New research lends support to the idea that coffee and tea, like many natural remedies and foods packed with antioxidants may actually be good for you.

New research reported from Rotterdam, indicates that coffee and tea consumption were inversely related to liver “stiffness” or scarring in the general population. Liver disease currently ranks as the 12th largest cause of death worldwide.

Many of these conditions are associated with unhealthy lifestyles. One of the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle including poor diet and alcohol consumption is scarring of the liver.

The Rotterdam Study published in the Journal of Hepatology found that drinking coffee and tea protects against liver fibrosis, which is extensive scarring of the liver.

Over the course of the past 25 years we have undoubtedly moved towards unhealthy lifestyle choices. This is increased with the consumption of unhealthy foods, including processed foods, refined and artificial sugars, which has led to an obesity epidemic in conjunction with fatty liver disease.

Coffee and tea consumption- as indicated in the study- might be one of the ways we can naturally reduce the way that the liver processes these toxins. It’s believed that caffeine increases the functioning of a system in the liver called a Cytochrome-450 system which detoxifies and eliminates various toxins consumed in the diet.

In addition, the positive effects of tea consumption may also be due to epigenetic changes. Epigenetic changes are modifications that turn our genes on and off. A recent study published in the Journal of Human Molecular Genetics, found that tea interacted with specific genes that turned on and off cancer as well as estrogen metabolism. Therefore the effects were more pronounced in women.

By influencing our genes, it is a new and novel approach that can help us to regulate whether tumor genes are expressed or not just by reducing or eliminating free radical damage or inflammation.

Positive or negative epigenetic changes are caused by compounds which effectively up-regulate or down-regulate specific genes. This is yet another study which confirms that genes, while predisposing us to illness are not our destiny.

One simple way to know if coffee or tea just isn’t the right thing for you, is how you feel after consumption. If it causes you to feel jittery, anxious or have trouble sleeping, it probably isn’t good thing.

But DNA based sciences are coming to the rescue. It appears these side positive or negative effects are due to CY1PD2 gene.  This is just one of the tests that I use to personalize treatment and get to the bottom of each individuals health needs and the importance of Precision Based Medicine and genetic testing in determining which individuals may truly benefit from the information found in these studies.

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