If you’re someone who cannot do without their daily morning cup of coffee (and the many throughout the day), researchers over at the Johns Hopkin University of Medicine might have some excellent news for you.
In a study published in the Kidney International Report, researchers from the University revealed that they’d discovered a connection between regular coffee consumption and lowering of the risk of getting acute kidney injury (AKI). Turns out, drinking coffee every day lowered the risk of AKI by 15 percent. It also noted that consuming two to three cups of coffee a day lowered the risk by 22-23 percent.
Aside from being the only reason why you do not scream every Monday morning when you log on to your inbox to see urgent e-mails piling up, coffee has several health benefits. Study corresponding author Chirag Parikh, M.D, Ph.D, director of the Division of Nephrology and professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine wrote, “We already know that drinking coffee on a regular basis has been associated with the prevention of chronic and degenerative diseases including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and liver disease. We can now add a possible reduction in AKI risk to the growing list of health benefits for caffeine.”
According to USA’s National Kidney Foundation, AKI is a sudden episode of kidney failure or kidney damage that happens within a few hours or days. It causes waste products to build up in the blood, making it difficult for the kidneys to manage the balance of fluids in the body.
The researchers used data from an ongoing survey of cardiovascular disease by community study and assessed 14,207 adults with a median age of 54. Upon analysing the data collected over a period of 24 years, focusing on people who consumed coffee each day (in eight-ounce coffee cups), researchers found that there were 1,694 cases of AKI recorded. After accounting for demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status, lifestyle influences, and dietary factors, they arrived at the conclusion that daily coffee consumption reduced the risk of AKI by 15 percent as compared to those who do not drink coffee. After further adjustments for comorbidities like blood pressure, BMI etc., there was still an 11 percent lower risk.
Parikh claims that this could be due to either biologically active compounds working together with caffeine or just caffeine on its own improving the perfusion and oxygen utilisation within the kidneys. Good kidney function and tolerance of AKI depend on a steady supply of blood and oxygen. “Caffeine has been postulated to inhibit the production of molecules that cause chemical imbalances and the use of too much oxygen in the kidneys. Perhaps caffeine helps the kidneys maintain a more stable system,” writes Parikh.
The researchers are now investigating the influence of coffee additives like milk, sugar, and cream on the effectiveness of caffeine in lowering the risks of AKI. They are also looking into whether different sources of caffeine, like tea or soda, also have the same effect or not.
For now, you can enjoy your morning cup of coffee with the knowledge that you’re doing something good for your body!