Metabolic studies have shown that coffee affects several hepatobiliary processes that are involved in cholesterol lithogenesis.
Researchers from Boston, Massachusetts, have previously showed that coffee drinking was associated with a lower risk of symptomatic gallstone disease in men.
In this study, the same research team prospectively examined the association between coffee drinking and cholecystectomy, a surrogate of symptomatic gallstone disease.
They studied a cohort of 80,898 women, aged between 34 and 59 years, in 1980 who had no history of gallstone disease.
|Relative risk of cholecystectomy:|
- 0 cups of coffee per day = 1
- 1 cup per day = 0.91
- 2 to 3 cups per day = 0.78
- 4 cups per day = 0.72
Coffee consumption and cholecystectomy were reported by participants on biennial mailed questionnaires.
The team found that during 20 years of follow-up to the year 2000, 7811 women reported a cholecystectomy.
They identified the multivariate relative risks of cholecystectomy, comparing intake of caffeinated coffee (0, 1, 2 to 3, and 4 cups per day), to be 1.0, 0.91, 0.78, and 0.72, respectively.
Furthermore, caffeine intake from beverages and dietary sources was also inversely associated with risk of cholecystectomy.
The multivariate relative risks for caffeine intake (25, 26 to 100, 101 to 200, 201 to 400, 401 to 800, and > 800 mg per day) were 1.0, 1.03, 1.01, 0.94, 0.85, and 0.85.
However, consumption of decaffeinated coffee was not associated with risk.
Dr Michael Leitzmann's team concluded, "These data suggest that consumption of caffeinated coffee may play a role in the prevention of symptomatic gallstone disease in women".