Research shows drinking several cups of coffee each day can ward off kidney failure.
At the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, researchers have found that consuming two to three cups of coffee daily can significantly protect the kidneys from acute injury. In the prospective cohort study led by Kalie L. Tommerdahl, MD, participants who drank any amount of coffee each day had an “11% lower risk” of acute kidney injury (AKI) than those who did not drink it at all with larger benefits when they specifically drank several cups. The findings were published online in an early May edition of the journal Kidney International Reports.
The research team wrote, “Coffee is one of the most frequently consumed beverages worldwide and has been found to have a wide assortment of health benefits. Although habitual coffee consumption is associated with a lower incidence of chronic kidney disease, an association between coffee and acute kidney injury (AKI) has not yet been revealed.” Thus, they sought to measure its potential benefits to the kidneys.
Acute kidney injury (AKI) is defined by the organs suddenly ceasing to work properly. according to the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS), “It can range from minor loss of kidney function to complete kidney failure. AKI normally happens as a complication of another serious illness. It’s not the result of a physical blow to the kidneys.”
Mayo Clinic says that AKI is most commonly presented in those who have already been hospitalized with another life-threatening condition, and it occurs when a patient “has a condition that slows blood flow to the kidneys; the kidneys experience direct damage; the organs’ urine drainage tubes (ureters) become blocked and wastes can’t leave the body through urine, and/or there is impaired blood flow to the kidneys.” Many diseases cause complications and can ultimately lead to AKI.
To support their findings, the researchers analyzed 14,207 adults from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. Among the participants, “17% drank > 3 cups daily, 23% drank 2-3 cups daily, 19% drank 1 cup daily, 14% drank < 1 cup daily, and 27% never drank coffee.” The mean age was “about 54 years.”
The researchers found, in general, “coffee intake was greater in White participants, individuals without diabetes, smokers, men, and individuals with normal blood pressure, greater total energy intake each day, and lean body mass index (BMI).”
Those who participated agreed to a one-time medical visit at which they completed food frequency surveys centered around their coffee consumption “as defined by the number of cups per day,” according to the report. After completion, the team “compared incident acute kidney injury as determined by hospitalization with an acute kidney injury International Classification Diseases code. During a median follow-up of 24 years there were 1694 acute kidney injury incidents.”
They concluded, “Higher coffee intake was associated with a lower risk of incident AKI and could present an opportunity for cardiorenal protection through diet. Further evaluation of the physiological mechanisms underlying the cardiorenal protective effects of coffee consumption is necessary.” However, “Our data support chronic coffee consumption as an opportunity for cardiorenal protection through diet, particularly for the prevention of acute kidney injury hospitalizations or procedures.”