Drinking coffee can help take care of the kidneys

For many people starting the day with a cup of coffee is essential.

This is because it is a highly stimulating drink due to its significant caffeine content. However, a recent study found that drinking coffee regularly may have another health benefit: reducing the risk of acute kidney injury.

The kidneys are two organs, each about the size of a fist, that are located in the middle of your back, just below your ribs.

Inside each kidney there are a million small structures called nephrons, which are responsible for filtering waste and excess water from the blood, which eventually ends up becoming urine. The kidneys also perform other functions, such as:

  • Produce vitamins that regulate growth.
  • Regulate the production of red blood cells, blood pressure levels and the presence of nutrients in the body.

Acute kidney injury occurs when the kidneys lose their ability to filter, increasing the risk that harmful levels of waste build up, leading to imbalances in the chemical composition of the blood.

This condition develops quickly, and can be fatal if not treated properly. Among its main symptoms (which differ depending on the cause) are:

  • Confusion.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Chest pain.
  • Fatigue.
  • Swelling in the legs and ankles.
  • Swelling around the eyes.
  • Scanty urine.
  • Nausea.
  • Convulsions or coma (in severe cases).

This disorder is most often seen in hospitalized patients whose kidneys are affected by stress and medical and surgical complications.

To reduce the risk of its occurrence, experts recommend paying attention to medication labels (some increase the risk of this condition), making regular visits to the doctor (especially if you have other types of kidney problems), and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Healthy life.

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  • What are the drinks that most damage the kidneys?

A new option seems to be added to this list of recommendations to prevent acute kidney injury: drink coffee. According to a recent study published in Kidney International Reports and conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, consuming at least one cup of coffee a day can reduce the risk of acute kidney injury, compared to those who do not drink this infusion.

Effects of coffee on the kidneys

For the new work, the researchers evaluated data from more than 14,000 people from cardiovascular disease surveys in four US communities, recruited between 1987 and 1989 with an average age of 54 years.

Participants were surveyed seven times over a 24-year period on the number of 8-ounce (237-ml) cups of coffee they consumed per day: zero, one, two to three, or more than three. During the survey period, nearly 1,700 cases of acute kidney injury were recorded.

After accounting for demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status, lifestyle influences, and dietary factors, the authors concluded that there was a 15% lower risk of acute kidney injury among participants who consumed any amount of coffee compared with those who consumed any amount of coffee. that they didn’t.

The greatest reductions were seen in the group that drank two to three cups a day (a 22-23% lower risk).

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Adjusting for additional comorbidities, such as blood pressure, body mass index, diabetes status, use of antihypertensive medications, and kidney function, people who drank coffee still had an 11% lower risk of developing this disease compared to those who didn’t. they did.

“We already know that drinking coffee regularly has been associated with the prevention of chronic and degenerative diseases, including type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular and liver diseases,” said Chirag Parikh, director of the Division of Nephrology and professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and study author.

“Now we can add a possible reduction in the risk of acute kidney injury to the growing list of health benefits of caffeine.”

He cautioned that the impact of coffee consumption on the risk of acute kidney injury could be due to biologically active compounds combined with caffeine or simply because caffeine improves oxygen perfusion and utilization within the kidneys. “Good kidney function depends on a constant supply of blood and oxygen,” Parikh said.

Although the results of this new research are promising, experts say that more studies are needed to understand the possible protective mechanisms of coffee consumption for the kidneys, especially at the cellular level.

Other benefits of coffee

Along with water and tea, coffee is one of the most consumed drinks in the world, and, therefore, one of the most studied by science. The available evidence indicates that its consumption is linked to these benefits:

  • Help lose weight.
  • Improve performance.
  • Improve mood.
  • Optimize concentration.
  • Prevent diabetes.
  • Protect cardiovascular health.
  • Protect the liver.
  • Slow down cell damage (thanks to its rich antioxidant content).
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All these benefits can be obtained as long as coffee is consumed in moderation, that is, between 3 and 4 cups a day (which represents an intake of approximately 400 mg of caffeine).

However, when consumed in excess, caffeine can affect metabolism in many ways:

  • It stimulates the central nervous system, providing energy impulses, increasing alertness and causing sleep disturbances.
  • Increases blood pressure levels.
  • Increases the release of stomach acid, increasing the risk of heartburn.
  • Interferes with the absorption of calcium by the body.
  • Causes headaches, restlessness, tremors, abnormal heart rhythms, and dehydration
  • Caffeine reaches its maximum level in the blood after one hour of being consumed. While the aforementioned effects can occur for four to six hours after ingestion.

    To remind:

    Until there is meaningful scientific evidence from human trials, people interested in using herbal therapies and supplements should be very careful.

    Do not abandon or modify your medications or treatments, but first talk to your doctor about the potential effects of alternative or complementary therapies.

    Remember, the medicinal properties of herbs and supplements can also interact with prescription drugs, other herbs and supplements, and even alter your diet.

    Sources consulted: Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, US Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

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