Coffee and Kidney Disease

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Coffee is a daily routine for a lot of people, some of us drink more than 1 cup each day. When people have to make dietary changes due to kidney disease, one of the questions they ask is, “Do I need to give up my coffee?”

The bottom-line answer is “No.” Coffee isn’t bad for your kidney, but it doesn’t mean you can drink as much as you want. 

How much to drink  

Potassium plays a role in keeping your heartbeat regular and your muscles working right. Healthy kidneys keep the right amount of potassium in your body. However, when your kidneys are not healthy, you often need to limit potassium intake from foods. If your potassium becomes too high, it can cause an irregular heartbeat or a heart attack.

An 8 oz. cup of black coffee has 116 mg of potassium. This is considered a low potassium food. However, if you drink more than one cup each day, for example three to four cups of coffee a day, it is considered high in potassium and could raise your potassium levels. Adding creamers or milk can further raise your coffee’s potassium content. 

Your blood pressure

The kidneys play a key role in regulating blood pressure within a healthy range, the high blood pressure in turn, affects the health of kidneys. You have to watch out for your blood pressure if you have a kidney problem.

Caffeine causes a short but sudden increase in blood pressure. Research has not shown that drinking 3-4 cups of coffee a day increases the risk of kidney disease or increases rate of decline of kidney function. However, moderating your intake is a good idea, especially for those struggling with blood pressure control. 

Additives

The coffee itself isn’t harmful, the additives can be. The flavored syrup and creamers are source of potassium. Manufacturers add chemical phosphates to coffee creamers. These chemical phosphates are easily absorbed by the body and should be limited for anyone with kidney disease.

Your fluid intake

If you are on a restricted fluid diet, you should include drinking coffee in your daily allowance.

Latest research 

In Sep this year, a new research involving nearly 5,000 people with chronic kidney disease(CKD) shows a hike in daily caffeine intake appeared to lower the odds of an early death. The study couldn’t prove cause-and-effect, however it did show a greater caffeine intake is tied to longer life expectancy for people with chronic kidney disease.

Some U.S. endocrinologist who wasn’t connected to the study said there could be physiologic reasons behind the benefit.

 

In summary, coffee is an acceptable beverage for kidney disease if consumed moderately and in black ideally.  However, individuals with questions about their coffee intake should talk to a registered dietitian or physician about how much is appropriate for them.

 

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