Is There Potassium In Coffee

Does Coffee Lead to Kidney Disease?

Most days, we could not imagine skipping our morning cup of coffee. It is what fuels the tank and makes the day better. Studies have shown that 5 out of 10 Americans drink coffee daily. Usually one of the first questions people ask when talking about better kidney health is, “do I have to give up my coffee?”

Science has investigated how coffee impacts everything from our immune system to the risk of heart disease and cancer. As most people know, the active chemical in coffee is caffeine, which produces various effects including stimulating the mind and body, increasing blood pressure, and having a diuretic effect on the urinary tract. But does this mean that coffee affects the kidneys? Well, the short answer is yes, but it might not be as simple as you think. It depends on what kind of coffee you drink, how much, and how often.

The Amount of Coffee You Drink

First thing to consider is the nutritional content of coffee. An 8 oz. cup of black coffee has 116 mg of potassium3. This is considered a low potassium food. However, many people drink more than one cup of coffee each day. Three to four cups of coffee a day is considered high in potassium and could raise your potassium levels. Adding creamers or milk can further raise your coffee’s potassium content. Drinking less than three cups of coffee/day is generally considered safe. Phosphorus, sodium, calories, carbohydrates and protein are minimal in black coffee and not of nutritional consideration.

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Coffee and Kidney Disease

For a while, coffee was considered potentially detrimental to the kidneys. However, the relationship may be more complex than originally thought. There have been numerous recent studies on the correlation between coffee consumption and kidney disease, such as a 2008 study performed in Korea that analyzed the habits of 2600 women. The result showed a decrease in the prevalence of kidney disease.

Another study looked specifically at the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua, where a lower prevalence of chronic kidney disease was found in coffee-growing villages. A 2016 meta-analysis found no association between increased coffee intake and kidney disease in males, but in females, there was a possible reduced risk.

So it seems, contrary to prior thought, that coffee may play a protective role in kidney disease. However, the effectiveness and mechanism are not fully understood. Some believe that the antioxidant effects of coffee may play a part. Therefore, patients with kidney stones, especially those with calcium oxalate stones, should still regard coffee as a possible risk factor.

Your Blood Pressure

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 the rate of decline of kidney function, however, moderating how much coffee you drink is a good idea. Those struggling with blood pressure control should especially drink less than three cups per day.

Additives

What is added to coffee can often be more of a problem than the coffee itself. For example, an 8 oz latte, made without flavored syrup, rolls in at 183 mg of phosphorus and a whopping 328 mg of potassium (4). Creamers can also be a problem. 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.

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Limiting sugars and creamers that we add to our coffee can greatly reduce the negative effects that coffee has on the body. We also can control the amount of coffee that we have each day to ensure that we are doing our best to protect our kidney health.

For more information regarding kidney health, please contact the Campbell County Medical Group’s Internal and Complex Medicine Clinic at (307) 688-3535.

Sources:

Can Drinking Too Much Coffee Give You Kidney Disease? (n.d.). Verywell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-coffees-effect-on-the-kidneys-4147536

Coffee and Kidney Disease: Is it Safe? (2017, October 20). National Kidney Foundation. https://www.kidney.org/newsletter/coffee-and-kidney-disease

Does Coffee Effect Kidney Health? (2021, September 28). Urology Specialist. http://urologyspecialist.com.au/coffee-kidney-health/