Coffee may help reduce risk of acute kidney injury

Want another reason to start your day with drinking a cup of coffee? A new study has revealed that consuming at least one cup of coffee a day may reduce the risk of acute kidney injury (AKI) when compared to those who do not drink coffee.

AKI is defined as a “sudden episode of kidney failure or kidney damage that happens within a few hours or a few days”.

The findings, published in the journal Kidney International Reports, show that those who drank any quantity of coffee every day had a 15 per cent lower risk of acute kidney injury. The largest reduction was observed in the group that drank two to three cups a day (a 22 per cent-23 per cent lower risk).

AKI causes waste products to build up in the blood, making it hard for kidneys to maintain the correct balance of fluids in the body.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University “suspect that the reason for coffee’s impact on AKI risk may be that either biologically active compounds combined with caffeine or just the caffeine itself improves perfusion and oxygen utilisation within the kidneys”.

“Good kidney function and tolerance to AKI is dependent on a steady blood supply and oxygen,” said corresponding author Chirag Parikh, Professor of medicine at the University’s School of Medicine.

Drinking coffee on a regular basis has been previously associated with the prevention of chronic and degenerative diseases including Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver disease. Parikh said “we can now add a possible reduction in AKI risk to the growing list of health benefits for caffeine”.

The team assessed 14,207 adults, who were surveyed seven times over a 24-year period as to the number of 8-ounce cups of coffee they consumed per day: zero, one, two to three, or more than three. During the survey period, there were 1,694 cases of acute kidney injury recorded.

However, more studies are needed, Parikh said, to define the possible protective mechanisms of coffee consumption for kidneys, especially at the cellular level.

“Caffeine has been postulated to inhibit the production of molecules that cause chemical imbalances and the use of too much oxygen in the kidneys,” he explained.

“Perhaps caffeine helps the kidneys maintain a more stable system.”




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