Researchers at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, have found a decreased risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), an autoimmune liver disease, with regular intake of coffee.

Coffee has many health benefits. It helps in burning body fats and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders and is also good for the liver. The new study from Mayo Clinic shows coffee can reduce the risk of developing primary sclerosing cholangitis, a rare yet dangerous autoimmune liver disease.

"While rare, PSC has extremely detrimental effects," says study author Craig Lammert, M.D., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist. "We're always looking for ways to mitigate risk, and our first-time finding points to a novel environmental factor that also might help us to determine the cause of this and other devastating autoimmune diseases."

PSC causes inflammation and consequent obstruction of bile ducts inside and outside the liver. It results in the blockage of the flow of bile to the gut, which can cause liver damage or even liver cancer. PSC is diagnosed in one in every 10,000 people and is a leading cause for liver transplants.

For this study, researchers interviewed a large group of participants who were diagnosed with PSC. In Addition, a group of participants with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and a group of healthy participants were examined. Researchers noted the coffee intake habits of all the three groups. It was found that the healthy group of participants spent 20 percent more time consuming coffee than the PSC group.

Researchers aim to conduct further research to find better treatments for these diseases.

The findings of the study were presented at the Digestive Disease Week 2013 conference in Orlando, Florida.