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Is Coffee Hard On The Kidneys

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You may want to think twice before consuming your next cup of joe.

Scientists from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health are brewing up trouble by claiming coffee drinkers could be at a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease.

Their new study, published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, examined 372 blood metabolites in 3,811 different people. Metabolites are small molecules made or used when the body breaks down food, drugs or chemicals.

It turns out that 56% of the people who had their blood metabolites examined by the researchers were daily coffee drinkers, and 32% drank more than two cups per day.

During their examinations, the researchers discovered one coffee-related metabolite that could help kidneys become healthier. However, alarmingly, they also found two other coffee-related metabolites linked to chronic kidney disease.

Chronic kidney disease, or CKD, involves the gradual loss of kidney function. Damaged kidneys cause toxic waste and extra fluid to accumulate, potentially leading to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

According to the CDC, about 37 million Americans one in seven adults are estimated to have CKD.

The new findings surprised Johns Hopkins researchers, given that a report published just six months ago concluded that there was a beneficial effect of coffee on kidney function.

Avoiding Food Rich In Oxalate

If you have a history of kidney stones, avoid eating foods rich in oxalate. Some of the high oxalate foods are: chocolate, nuts, greens, and even tea. Eating animal foods may cause stones in the kidneys.

Red meat, poultry, egg, and seafood can increase the levels of uric acid in the body. Uric acid is a part of metabolism. Uric acid stones are a common type of stone.

Extreme amounts of vitamins may cause stones in the kidneys. You should increase your daily intake of vitamins C and E from diet sources. There are many foods with high levels of the B vitamins.

A daily dose of 1,000 IU of vitamins C and E is safe. Coffee and tea are high in caffeine. Coffee and tea may reduce the risk of stones.

The Solution: Which Teas Are Best For Kidneys

Not all teas are cause for concern when it comes to kidneys. There are plenty of tea types that havent been linked to kidney disease, and in fact may help improve kidney health! The key you may have learned by now is levels of caffeine and oxalates, and also other constituents like certain antioxidants which can actually be beneficial to kidney health.

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Caffeine As A Diuretic

Caffeine, which belongs to a class of substances called methylxanthines, is a mild diuretic. Theophylline, another drug in this class, was actually used as a diuretic until more potent diuretics were developed. Both of these drugs act on the kidneys by preventing absorption of water. Research reported by R.J. Maughan and J. Griffin in the December 2003 “Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics” noted that people who had not had any caffeine for a few days had increased urinary output after drinking the amount of caffeine equivalent to two to three cups of coffee.

The Research Team Explains That Increased Caffeine Intake Could Help Your Kidneys Stay Healthy

Pin on Coffee

The study’s findings uphold some previous research on the connection between caffeine consumption and overall kidney health. The research team explains that caffeine increases urine flow, saying it “represents an important protective factor against the development of kidney stones,” adding that it was still essential to match coffee intake with enough water as well to see this benefit.

The team also added that caffeine “can also reduce calcium oxalate crystal adhesion to kidney cells” and that “coffee plants are rich in citric acid urinary citrate is a known inhibitor of renal stone formation.”

“Given the increasing prevalence of kidney stones in the United States and the associated morbidity, it would be great if this turns out to be a new prevention strategy that is both accessible and affordable,” Kerry Willis, PhD, chief scientific officer for the National Kidney Foundation, said of the findings.

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Is Tea Coffee Or Caffeine Good For Your Kidneys What Teas Are Best

Kidney health is a big concern for a lot of people, and there are many rumors flying around about whether tea and coffee are safe for this part of the body. Will your morning cup of tea give you kidney stones? Can coffee cause kidney failure? Should you give up caffeine to protect your body?

Many err on the side of caution and think they should avoid all tea and coffee to be safe, but there are many teas that are perfectly fine for kidneys, and you shouldnt have to miss out!

In this post, Ill be answering the questions:

  • What is the connection between caffeine and kidneys?
  • Is black tea bad for your kidneys?
  • Is coffee bad for your kidneys?
  • Is yerba mate tea good or bad for kidneys?
  • Which tea is best for kidneys?

We chose to research and write this article in particular because so many tea drinkers we meet in person and talk with online have told us they used to be coffee drinkers, and due to kidney issues their doctors told them to switch to tea. That said, kidney infections, kidney stones, and kidney disease are different conditions which come with their own recommendations so always talk with your physician before any dietary changes.Read on to get the facts!

Alcohol And Chronic Kidney Disease

When it comes to drinking alcohol, moderation is the key. Drinking too much alcoholeven for a completely healthy personcan cause heart disease, liver disease, high blood pressure and kidney disease, in addition to many other medical problems. Drinking too much alcohol can also impair judgmentand this could interfere with decision making related to remembering to take medicines and following fluid and diet guidelines.

Renal diets and alcohol

Moderate alcohol drinking may be okay for people with chronic kidney disease who are not on dialysis. However, its best to first check with your nephrologist or renal dietitian to find out if alcohol is safe for you. If youre able to drink alcohol safely, your healthcare team will advise you on the types and amounts that are right for you.

If youre on dialysis, drinking alcohol may be allowable, but it must be counted within your normal fluid allowance and diet, and medicines must be taken into consideration. Talk to your doctor or dietitian before you drink any alcohol.

For those with diabetes and CKD, alcohol may be safe to drink if you have your blood sugar level under control. After getting the okay to drink from your doctor or dietitian, it is recommended that you drink with food. Alcohol on an empty stomach can cause blood sugar levels to drop in those with diabetes. Additional ingredients in mixed drinks may add carbohydrate that must be considered. You will also have to fit alcohol into your meal plan.

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Eating Too Many Foods High In Sugar

Sugar contributes to obesity which increases your risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes, two of the leading causes of kidney disease. In addition to desserts, sugar is often added to foods and drinks that you may not consider sweet. Avoid condiments, breakfast cereals, and white bread which are all sneaky sources of processed sugar. Pay attention to the ingredients when buying packaged goods to avoid added sugar in your diet.

Energy Drinks And The Kidneys

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An October 2015 review published in the International Journal of Health Sciences examined studies on energy drinks, to assess their health effects. It found that the caffeine content of these beverages increased urination, a problem that can lead to dehydration when exercising in a hot environment. Since products such as 5-Hour Energy are loaded with caffeine, it’s a good idea to avoid them, and escape the negative effects they have on the kidneys.

The review in the IJHS cited a case of kidney failure resulting from the ingestion of large amounts of an energy drink. It was featured in an October 2014 report in The Annals of Pharmacotherapy. Although the case involved only one person, it merits notice, because it indicates that the beverages might have the potential to cause serious harm to the kidneys.

Energy drinks may not be acceptable for people with chronic kidney disease, or those on dialysis. A March 2018 article published in the Journal of Renal Nutrition concluded that before allowing patients to consume the beverages, a dialysis dietitian or dialysis health professional should first evaluate the safety of the specific brand, and its constituents.

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Four Main Kinds Of Kidney Stones

There are four main kinds of kidney stones:

  • Calcium oxalate stones, by far the most common type of kidney stone

  • Calcium phosphate stones, also very common

  • Uric acid stones, often associated with diabetes

  • Struvite stones, often caused by an active infection

The two most common kidney stones include calcium in their names, so does that mean you should cut out milk and other calcium-rich foods?

Before We Start: Defining Some Basic Kidney Terms

Your kidneys are truly amazing. A healthy set of kidneys filters about ½ cup of blood every minute! They remove excess water and wastes from the blood .

Kidney infections occur when bacteria from the gut travel through the bladder and up to the kidneys . These are usually treated with antibiotics, and if you talk to your doctor, you may be able to add herbs to your treatment regimen to help ease pain and other symptoms.

Kidney stones are made up of crystal-forming substances, such as uric acid, calcium, oxalate, or cysteine. High levels of these in the urine and too little fluid to dilute them can cause stones . Drinking more fluids, changing the diet, and sometimes medication are used as preventative approaches .

Kidney disease or failure involves the loss of kidney function. Some causes include:

  • Obstructions .

Now, lets find out how your favorite beverages might play into all this.

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Caffeine And Fluid Balance

However, Maughan and Griffin went on to say that the dangers of caffeine-caused diuresis have been overrated. They reviewed many scientific articles published on caffeine and fluid balance that were published between 1966 and 2002. The review showed that although large doses of caffeine taken in a short period of time can stimulate urine output, people quickly develop tolerance to the effects of the caffeine, diminishing the diuretic effect in those who regularly consume coffee or tea. Maughan and Griffin concluded the caffeine doses found in standard servings of caffeinated beverages such as tea, coffee or energy drinks would not affect fluid balance.

What Harms The Kidneys


Foods rich in animal protein are not suggested if you have kidney problems, as a diet high in protein can aggravate these conditions. Avoid eating meat, eggs, dairy, and other animal protein sources. Metabolizing the proteins causes the kidneys to enlarge and adds stress to other organs.

Uric acid is a toxic substance that accumulates in the body. This harmful substance can cause damage to the kidneys as well as other organs. Blending and drinking a cup of cranberries with water and lemon juice cleanses the kidneys of uric acid.

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What Is The Point Of Decaffeinated Coffee

Whats the point of drinking decaf? People drink decaf for varied reasons including avoiding caffeine for health reasons, avoiding jitters, to not disturb sleep, or fear of complications with medications. Decaf offers a great alternative to those who enjoy the robust and unique taste of coffee without wanting caffeine.

Green Tea And Kidneys

Good news for green tea lovers! Green tea was found to help prevent the progression of kidney disease, due to the polyphenols and you probably already know it’s not nearly as high in caffeine as black tea or coffee .

Green teas also contain lower levels of oxalates than some other beverages, and higher levels of EGCG, which means green tea may help prevent kidney stone formation .

Furthermore, green tea does not contain creatinine – a waste product produced by the body that healthy kidneys filter from the blood. Unhealthy kidneys may not filter this chemical efficiently, causing creatinine levels in the blood to increase . But with green tea, theres no need to worry about that.

To learn more about green teas benefits, including the difference between Chinese and Japanese green teas, check out our spotlight post.

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Drinking Coffee Often Could Be Putting Your Kidneys At Risk Of Renal Failure

The latest research comes from a team at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health that was recently published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Scientists examined 372 blood metabolites in almost 5,000 people, ultimately finding that 41 metabolites were associated with coffee consumption.

Of all the metabolites detected, oneglycochenodeoxycholate, a lipid involved in primary bile acid metabolismis considered potentially beneficial to kidney health. But two otherso-methylcatechol sulfate and 3-methyl catechol sulfate, which are involved in the metabolism of the preservative benzoatewere also found, which are also typically seen in the system after smoking cigarettes and can lead to renal failure. Researchers say the presence of these metabolites is closely associated with higher risks of developing chronic kidney disease .

Effects Of Caffeine Consumption On Kidney Stone Disease

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Although the effects of caffeine on the kidney have been extensively studied, its influence in kidney stone disease seems to be overlooked. The evidence on whether caffeine prevents or promotes kidney stone disease has recently become more clear. Because an increase in fluid intake is widely recommended for the prevention of kidney stone formation, some previous studies during the past 2 decades focused on the relevance of the type of consumed beverages, including caffeinated beverages, in association with kidney stone incidence. In 1996, the first cohort data retrieved from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study in 45,298 male participants who had no history of kidney stones were reported . The findings showed that not all types of beverages affect kidney stone disease. Only caffeinated coffee and decaffeinated coffee and tea, but not caffeinated and noncaffeinated sodas, are associated with an 10% lower risk of kidney stone incidence .

In 1998, the Nurses Health Study , another cohort study in 81,083 female participants who had no history of kidney stones reported the association between beverage consumption and a lower risk of kidney stone disease . The data showed a 10%, 9%, and 8% lower risk of kidney stone formation in the participants who consumed caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea, respectively .

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Coffee Consumption And Kidney Disease: What Research Says

For a while, coffee was considered potentially dangerous to the kidneys however, the relationship may be more complex than originally thought. There have been numerous studies on the correlation between coffee consumption and kidney disease. Population-based epidemiological studies tend to show a link between coffee consumption and possibly a protective effect on kidney function.

For instance, a study from Korea involving over 2,600 women revealed that coffee consumption was associated with a decreased risk of kidney disease, including in diabetic women. However, population-based surveys arent enough to make hard conclusions. So, given the possibly controversial and pertinent nature of the topic, a meta-analysis published in 2016 attempted to answer this same question.

This meta-analysis revealed that theres no link between coffee consumption and increased risk of kidney disease in male patients. Interestingly, however, the study noted the possibility of a reduced risk of kidney disease in women who drink coffee. Based on these data, the conclusion regarding coffee could be harmless on male kidneys, and possibly beneficial for womens kidneys.

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    Kidney Health And Coffee Consumption: Is There A Link

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    Coffee is the most popular drink on the planet, with approximately two billion cups consumed each day. Coffee seeds comprise a variety of minerals, vitamins, caffeine and phytochemicals that can have a myriad of effects on different systems within the body. It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that an area of scientific research has evolved to address the impact of drinking coffee at the molecular level. A “grande” amount of literature exists in this space, with previous studies asking questions such as: Can you really drink too much coffee? Is coffee good for metabolism?A new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has focused specifically on the “coffeekidney” relationship. The results are published in theClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.


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