Blog RSS
Dr. Tori Hudson, Portland, Oregon, Blog Healthline Blog

Cup of black coffee and coffee beans on burlap sackAs you might likely imagine, coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world.  It contains a variety of compounds including caffeine, diterpenes and chlorogenic acid, all of which fully develop with the bean roasting process.  There is a growing list of benefits for daily and up to moderate consumption including risk reduction of type 2 diabetes, liver disease, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease and more.

The incidence of CKD is often defined as an estimated glomerular filtration rate  (GFR) of less than 60 mL/minute that has been accompanied by a 25% or more decline in GFR compared to past numbers, a CKD-related hospitalization or death, or end stage renal disease.

The ARIC study (Atherosclerosis Risks in Communities Study) reported that moderate coffee consumption, which can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and is a precursor to chronic kidney disease (CKD) , may be a tool in prevention of CKD.  There were 14,209 participants aged 45-69 in the ARIC Study. Coffee consumption as determined using a food frequency questionnaire.

There were 3,845 cases of incident CKD over an average of 24 years of follow-up evaluation.  Higher categories of coffee consumption were associated with lower risk for CKD compared with those who never consumed coffee.  For each cup of coffee from 1/day to 3 or more per day, the risk for CKD lowered by 3%.   Men, Caucasians, current smokers and those without comorbid conditions were more likely to consume higher amounts of coffee per day.   Individuals who consumed any amount of coffee had an 11 % overall lower incidence of kidney injury.

Commentary:  There have been many positive studies on the benefits of caffeine, including coffee.  This one continues that trend. The most often studied compound in coffee is caffeine, a methylxanthine alkaloid and an adenosine receptor antagonist that alters kidney function including the influence on the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, renal plasma flow, hemodynamics, natriuresis and inhibiting sodium reabsorption.  Other less studied compounds in coffee may also contribute to the renal protective effects. These include chlorogenic acids, chlorogenic acid lactones, p-coumaric acid, nicotinic acid, theobromine and trigonelline— just in case you wanted to know!

There are also other important nonrenal mechanisms that might explain the protective effects of coffee consumption on renal disease including reduced inflammation, enhanced endothelial function and improved insulin sensitivity.

Chronic kidney disease, also called chronic kidney failure is a gradual loss of kidney function.  The kidneys jobs are to filter wastes and excess fluids from our blood, which are then excreted in our urine.  As the kidneys continue to decline, there can be dangerous levels of fluid retention, electrolyte imbalances and wastes that build up in the body, ultimately causing damage to the heart, central nervous system and immune system.

The diseases and conditions that cause CKD include:

  • Type 1 or type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Glomerulonephritis, an inflammation of the kidney’s filtering units (glomeruli)
  • Interstitial nephritis, an inflammation of the kidney’s tubules and surrounding structures
  • Polycystic kidney disease or other inherited kidney diseases
  • Prolonged obstruction of the urinary tract, from conditions such as enlarged prostate, kidney stones and some cancers and even large uterine fibroids
  • Vesicoureteral reflux, a condition that causes urine to back up into your kidneys
  • Recurrent kidney infection

The risk of CKD increases with Diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, smoking nicotine, obesity, being Black, Native American or Asian American, a family history of kidney disease, abnormal kidney structure, older age, frequent use of medications that are known causes of damage to the kidneys.

The primary treatment for CKD is to focus on slowing the progression of kidney damage and control these underlying causes, although that might not be enough.  A multifaceted approach that incorporates lifestyle, treating the underling conditions, and addressing inflammation and endothelial function are the hallmarks of a natural medicine/integrative medicine approach.

Reference: Hu, E, Selvin E, Grams M, et al.  Coffee Consumption and Incident Kidney Disease: Results from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. Am J Kidney Dis. 2018 Aug;72(2):214-222

Comments are closed.