The Complex Relationship Between Coffee and Kidney Health

The Complex Relationship Between Coffee and Kidney Health

Coffee, one of the world’s most beloved beverages, has been the subject of much inquiry regarding its impact on health. While it’s widely known that caffeine, the active chemical in coffee, can stimulate the mind and body, increase blood pressure, and act as a diuretic on the urinary tract, its relationship with kidney health is not so straightforward. The relationship between coffee and kidney health may be more complex than one might expect.

Many of us enjoy our morning cup of coffee, and although we may not consider its effects on our health, caffeine creates many changes throughout the body. But how does it affect the Kidneys?

coffee and kidneys

Coffee and Kidney Stones

Some people are more prone to the development of kidney stones, and oxalate stones are one of the most common varieties that people develop. Coffee, as well as black tea, are one of the main sources of oxalate, so people with this condition should be wary of their intake.

Coffee and Kidney Cancer

There is mixed evidence regarding coffees association with kidney cancer, some studies have shown a reduced risk of renal cell carcinoma, while this study mostly seems to be true with caffeinated coffee.

Decaffeinated coffee, however, has been linked to an increase in clear renal cell carcinoma subtypes. Despite these associations, more research needs to be done to form a conclusive picture.

Coffee and Kidney Disease

For a while, coffee was considered potentially detrimental to the Kidneys, however, the relationship may be more complex than originally thought. There have been numerous recent studies on the correlation between coffee consumption and kidney disease, such as a 2008 study performed in Korea that analysed the habits of 2600 women, which showed a decrease in the prevalence of kidney disease.

Another study looked specifically at the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua, where a lower prevalence of chronic kidney disease was found in coffee growing villages. A 2016 meta-analysis actually found no association between increased coffee intake and kidney disease in males, and in females, there was a possible reduced risk.

So it seems, contrary to prior thought that coffee may actually play a protective role in kidney disease, however, the effectiveness and mechanism are not fully understood. Some believe, that the antioxidant effects of coffee may play a part.

Therefore, patients with kidney stones, especially those with calcium oxalate stones, should still regard coffee as a possible risk factor.

Blood Pressure and Kidney Function

High blood pressure can be a big factor in developing kidney disease, in fact, it’s only second to diabetes in risk factor. There is some evidence that caffeine-containing coffee causes a momentary spike in blood pressure, however, it is thought that these effects are exaggerated in older patients no accustomed to the effects, as well as those with a history of high blood pressure.

Due to this correlation, some believe excess coffee consumption, especially in sensitive individuals may be detrimental to kidney health. Despite this, most data shows that as long as coffee consumption remains below four cups daily, there is minimal risk.

If you are concerned about coffee’s effects on your kidneys, make sure to moderate your consumption over the day and be sure to contact your urology specialist.

Dr Arianayagam is an expert in the field of urological cancer surgery, and the treatment of urological conditions. He is one of the most experienced cancer surgeons in Sydney.

If you have any questions regarding kidney health or if you would like to book an appointment, please feel free to contact Dr Arianayagam’s office or call on 1300 307 990 and his staff will be more than happy to assist.

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