(ORDO NEWS) — If you need another reason to start your day with a cup of coffee, a recent study by scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine found that drinking at least one cup of coffee a day can reduce the risk of acute kidney injury (AKI) compared to those who doesn’t drink coffee.
The results of the study, published May 5 in Kidney International Reports, show that those who drank any amount of coffee every day had a 15% lower risk of developing AKI, with the largest reduction seen in the group who drank two to three cups a day. (the risk was reduced by 22%-23%).
“We already know that regular coffee consumption is associated with the prevention of chronic and degenerative diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver disease,” said study author Chirag Parikh, MD, PhD, director of the department of nephrology and professor of medicine.
At Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Now we can add a possible reduction in the risk of AKI to the growing list of caffeine benefits.”
AKI, as the National Kidney Foundation describes it, is “a sudden episode of kidney failure or kidney damage that occurs over a period of hours or days.” As a result, waste products accumulate in the blood, and it becomes difficult for the kidneys to maintain the correct balance of fluids in the body.
Symptoms of AKI depend on the cause and may include: too little urine passing out of the body; swelling of the legs and ankles, as well as around the eyes; fatigue; shortness of breath confusion; nausea; chest pain; and in severe cases, convulsions or coma.
This disease is most common in hospitalized patients whose kidneys suffer from medical and surgical stress and complications.
Using data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, an ongoing study of cardiovascular disease in four communities in the United States, the researchers analyzed 14,207 adults recruited from 1987-1989, with a median age of 54 years.
Participants were asked seven times over a 24-year period about the number of 8-ounce cups of coffee per day: zero, one, two to three, or more than three. During the study period, 1,694 cases of acute kidney injury were reported.
When controlling for demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status, lifestyle, and dietary factors, participants who drank any amount of coffee had a 15% lower risk of developing AKI than those who did not.
When adjusting for additional comorbidities such as blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), diabetes status, use of antihypertensive drugs, and kidney function people who drank coffee still had an 11% lower risk of developing AKI compared with those who didn’t drink it.
“We suspect that coffee’s effect on the risk of AKI may be that bioactive compounds in combination with caffeine, or caffeine itself, improve perfusion and oxygen utilization in the kidney,” Parikh says. “Good kidney function and resistance to AKI depend on a stable blood supply and oxygen.”
More research is needed to determine the possible protective mechanisms of coffee consumption for the kidneys, especially at the cellular level, Parikh said.
“Caffeine is supposed to inhibit the production of molecules that cause chemical imbalances and the consumption of too much oxygen in the kidneys,” he explains. “Perhaps caffeine helps the kidneys maintain a more stable system.”
Parikh and colleagues note that coffee additives such as milk, processed foods, creamer, sugar, or sweeteners may also affect the risk of AKI and require further study. Additionally, the authors say that drinking other types of caffeinated beverages, such as tea or soda, should be considered as a possible confounding factor.
Emily Hu, Elizabeth Selvin, and Joseph Koresh of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health also participated in the study; Morgan Grams of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; Casey Rebholtz of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health; Kali Tommerdahl and Peter Bjornstad of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Lynn Steffen of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.
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