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Is Coffee Bad for Kidney Health?

Is Coffee Bad for Kidney Health?

What is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a natural drug found in many plants, but many companies can also produce it artificially. Science considers caffeine as a drug because it tends to stimulate the nervous system and stresses the kidney. This drug is used for different beverages, food, and supplements.

The caffeine included in every beverage varies depending on the plant that produces it. Some of the beverages include coffee, tea, soda, cocoa, and energy drinks. However, coffee is the most popular among the others. Since caffeine is considered a drug, is coffee bad for kidney health?

Is Coffee Bad for Kidney Health?

Health Facts of Trending Food

Coffee is one of the most common caffeinated beverages worldwide. Due to its prevalence, drinking coffee has become a daily habit of many people, regardless of age and gender. However, a lot of study debates appear simultaneously as the popularity of coffee arises. These studies talk about the good and bad effects of coffee on general health, including kidney health.

Most of the studies conclude that consumption of coffee is not risky for kidney health if it does not exceed 400 mg worth of caffeine (roughly 4 cups). The results of one study determined that an additional cup of coffee per day protected against chronic kidney disease and improved kidney function. Other studies also conclude that coffee decreases the risk of developing end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) and albuminuria, a sign of kidney disease where protein releases into the urine.

Coffee may not be harmful, but the additives can increase the risk of harming the kidneys. The most common additives are milk and creamers. Creamers generally contain high amounts of potassium and phosphorus, which may need to be limited for patients with chronic kidney disease.

Effects of Caffeinated Beverages on Kidney Health

Caffeine beverages have their limitations to offer benefits to kidney health. These beverages include coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, and energy drinks. Too much consumption of caffeine can also lead to other kidney-related problems. Some of these are the following:

  • Hypokalemia. Coffee contains a small amount of potassium, however, too much coffee can result in low blood potassium levels or hypokalemia. Caffeinated beverages act as diuretics which increase the frequency of urination. This results in water and electrolyte loss, including potassium.
  • Increased blood pressure. It is a mild condition that may only happen in a short time after drinking one cup. The primary cause is unclear, but some studies include that caffeine blocks the hormone that widens arteries.
  • Kidney Stones. Coffee may reduce the risk of the formation of kidney stones, but not all caffeinated drinks have this effect. Caffeinated sodas increase the risk of occurrence and recurrence of kidney stones. Some study results conclude that the sugar included contributes to the increase in the risk of kidney stones formation. However, coffee and tea do contain oxalates which can cause stone formation. Overall, the effects of coffee are protective but adequate hydration with water is also important.

Effects of Caffeinated Beverages on Urinary Tract Health

Moderate consumption of caffeine is considered safe and beneficial. However, many people tend to have excessive consumption that may lead to these problems.

  • Increase in urine volume. Caffeine is a diuretic, which causes the body to excrete salt and water from the body. It happens by urinating more than usual when consuming caffeinated beverages. While diuretics can help with lowering blood pressure and expel toxins, too much of it can cause dehydration.
  • Changes in bowel movements. A medical school conducted a study involving men consuming caffeine by drinking two cups of coffee every day. The result shows that moderate to severe incontinence may occur by consuming too much caffeine, as it also has a laxative effect.
  • Urinary tract infections. As mentioned previously, the caffeine in coffee increases urine volume due to its diuretic effect. Dehydration and inability to void or empty the bladder completely increases the risk of developing a urinary tract infection (UTI). It is important to continue drinking enough water even if you are drinking other liquids, especially those that contain caffeine.

Key Takeaways

Caffeine is an addictive substance that can be found in many foods and beverages. One of these beverages includes coffee. However, is coffee bad for your kidney health? There is evidence that coffee is actually beneficial to kidney health. However, overconsumption of caffeine can lead to dehydration, incontinence, and increase the risk of UTIs. Therefore, limit yourself to drinking 2 to 4 cups of coffee per day. For more information about kidney and urinary tract health, consult your healthcare provider.

Learn more about urological health, here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Coffee and Kidney Disease: Is it Safe?

https://www.kidney.org/newsletter/coffee-and-kidney-disease Date Accessed April 16, 2021

Coffee Consumption and Kidney Function: A Mendelian Randomization Study

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31837886/ Date Accessed April 16, 2021

Effect of Coffee Consumption on Renal Outcome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Clinical Studies

https://www.jrnjournal.org/article/S1051-2276(20)30209-0/abstract Date Accessed April 16, 2021

Coffee Consumption and Kidney Function

https://ajkdblog.org/2020/06/04/coffee-consumption-and-kidney-function/ Date Accessed April 16, 2021


https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/coffee/ Date Accessed April 16, 2021

KEEP Healthy

https://www.kidney.org/news/keephealthy/newsletter/Spring2013/KH_Ask-the-doctor Date Accessed April 16, 2021

Be aware of kidney-damaging foods

https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/be-aware-of-kidney-damaging-foods Date Accessed April 16, 2021

How does caffeine affect blood pressure?

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/expert- answers/blood-pressure/faq-20058543 Date Accessed April 16, 2021

What is high potassium, or hyperkalemia?

https://www.kidneyfund.org/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/complications/high-potassium-hyperkalemia.html Date Accessed April 16, 2021

Caffeine may worsen urinary leakage

https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/caffeine-may-worsen-urinary-leakage Date Accessed April 16, 2021


https://medlineplus.gov/caffeine.html Date Accessed April 16, 2021


https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/caffeine/ Date Accessed April 16, 2021

Eating Your Way To A Healthier Bladder And Bowel

https://www.bladderandbowel.org/news/eating-way-healthier-bladder-bowel/ Date Accessed April 16, 2021

Bladder control: Lifestyle strategies ease problems

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-incontinence/in-depth/bladder-control-problem/art-20046597 Date Accessed April 16, 2021

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Written by Shienna Santelices Updated Aug 17, 2021
Medically reviewed by Mia Dacumos, M.D.