European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 401–405 | Cite as

Relation of coffee, green tea, and caffeine intake to gallstone disease in middle-aged Japanese men

  • H. Ishizuka
  • H. Eguchi
  • T. Oda
  • S. Ogawa
  • K. Nakagawa
  • S. Honjo
  • S. Kono


A possible protective effect of coffee or caffeine intake in the formation of gallstones has been suggested in some epidemiological studies. We examined the relation of coffee, green tea, and caffeine intake to gallstone disease in middle-aged Japanese men, distinguishing known gallstones from unknown diagnosed gallstones. Study subjects were 174 cases of gallstones as determined by ultrasonography, 104 cases of postcholecystectomy, and 6889 controls of normal gallbladder in the total of 7637 men who received a health examination at four hospitals of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF). Of the 174 cases of prevalent gallstones, 50 had been aware of having gallstones. Previously diagnosed gallstones and postcholecystectomy were combined as known gallstone disease. The consumption of coffee and green tea was ascertained by a self-administered questionnaire, and caffeine intake was estimated. Statistical adjustment was done for body mass index, smoking, alcohol use, rank in the SDF, and hospital. Coffee and caffeine intake were associated each with a statistically significant increase in the prevalence odds of known gallstone disease, but unrelated to newly diagnosed gallstones. Adjusted odds ratios of known gallstone disease were 1.7 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1–2.8) for coffee consumption of five cups or more per day vs. no consumption and 2.2 (95% CI: 1.3–3.7) for caffeine intake of 300 mg/day or more vs. less than 100 mg/day. The consumption of green-tea showed no material association with either unknown gallstones or known gallstone disease. The findings do not support a hypothesis that coffee drinking may be protective against gallstone formation.

Caffeine Cholelithiasis Coffee Cross-sectional study Tea Ultrasonography 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Hay DW, Carey MC. Pathophysiology and pathogenesis of cholesterol gallstone formation. Sem Liver Dis 1990; 10: 159–170.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Diehl AK. Epidemiology and natural history of gallstone disease. Gastroenterol Clin North Am 1991; 20: 1–19.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Misciagna G, Leoci C, Guerra V, et al. Epidemiology of cholelithiasis in southern Italy. Part II: Risk factors. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 1996; 8: 585–593.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Leitzmann MF, Willett WC, Rim EB, et al. A prospective study of coffee consumption and the risk of symptomatic gallstone disease in men. JAMA 1999; 281: 2106–2112.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Douglas BR, Jansen JB, Tham RT, Lamers CB. Coffee stimulation of cholecystokinin release and gallbladder contraction in humans. Am J Clin Nutr 1990; 52: 553–556.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Rao SS, Welcher K, Zimmerman B, Stumbo P. Is coffee a colonic stimulant? Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 1998; 10: 113–118.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Magnuson TH, Zarkin BA, Lillemoe KD, May CA, Bastidas JA, Pitt HA. Caffeine inhibits gallbladder absorption. Curr Surg 1989; 46: 477–479.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Lillemoe KD, Magnuson TH, High RC, Peoples GE, Pitt HA. Caffeine prevents cholesterol gallstone formation. Surgery 1989; 106: 400–407.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ruhl CE, Everhart JE. Association of coffee consumption with gallbladder disease. Am J Epidemiol 2000; 152: 1034–1038.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kono S, Shinchi K, Ikeda N, Yanai F, Imanishi K. Prevalence of gallstone disease in relation to smoking, alcohol use, obesity, and glucose tolerance: Astudy of self-defense officials in Japan. Am J Epidemiol 1992; 136: 787–794.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kono S, Shinchi K, Todoroki I, et al. Gallstone disease among Japanese men in relation to obesity, glucose intolerance, exercise, alcohol use, and smoking. Scand J Gastroenterol 1995; 30: 372–376.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Honjo S, Kono S, Coleman MP, et al. Coffee consumption and serum aminotransferases in middle-aged Japanese men. J Clin Epidemiol 2001; 54: 823–829.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    World Health Organization Expert Committee on Diabetes Mellitus: World Health Organization Technical Report 646. Geneva: World Health Organization, 1980.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Research Council, Science and Technology Agency, Japan. Standard tables of food composition in Japan. Fifth revised edition. Tokyo: The Ministry of Finance Printing Office, 2000.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kratzer W, Kächele V, Mason RA, et al. Gallstone prevalence in relation to smoking, alcohol, coffee consumption, and nutrition. The Ulm Gallstone Study. Scand J Gastroenterol 1997; 32: 953–958.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Jørgensen T. Gall stones in a Danish population. Relation to weight, physical activity, smoking, coffee consumption, and diabetes mellitus. Gut 1989; 30: 528–534.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Devesa F, Ferrando J, Caldentey M, et al. Cholelithiasic disease and associated factors in a Spanish population. Dig Dis Sci 2001; 46: 1424–1436.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Pastides H, Tzonou A, Trichopoulos D, et al. A case-control study of the relationship between smoking, diet, and gallbladder disease. Arch Intern Med 1990; 150: 1409–1412.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    La Vecchia C, Negri E, D'Avanzo B, Franceschi S, Boyle P. Risk factors for gallstone disease requiring surgery. Int J Epidemiol 1991; 20: 209–215.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Sahi T, Paffenbarger RS Jr, Hsieh CC, Lee IM. Body mass index, cigarette smoking, and other characteristics as predictors of self-reported, physician-diagnosed gallbladder disease in male college alumni. Am J Epidemiol 1998; 147: 644–651.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Kono S, Imanishi K, Shinchi K, Yanai F. Relationship of diet to small and large adenomas of the sigmoid colon. Jpn J Cancer Res 1993; 84: 13–19.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Nakayama F, Miyake H. Changing state of gallstone disease in Japan. Am J Surg 1970; 120: 794–799.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Nomura H, Kashiwagi S, Hayashi J, et al. Prevalence of gallstone disease in a general population of Okinawa, Japan. Am J Epidemiol 1988; 128: 598–605.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Ishizuka
    • 1
    • 2
  • H. Eguchi
    • 1
  • T. Oda
    • 3
  • S. Ogawa
    • 4
  • K. Nakagawa
    • 5
  • S. Honjo
    • 6
  • S. Kono
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medical SciencesKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  2. 2.Self Defense Forces Fukuoka HospitalKasugaJapan
  3. 3.Self Defense Forces Kumamoto HospitalKumamotoJapan
  4. 4.Self Defense Forces Sapporo HospitalSapporoJapan
  5. 5.Self Defense Forces Central HospitalTokyoJapan
  6. 6.Tochigi Cancer Center Research InstituteUtsunomiyaJapan
  7. 7.Department of Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medical SciencesKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan

Personalised recommendations