People who drink coffee are less likely to develop kidney damage than coffee abstainers. Epidemiologist Anniek van Westing discovered this in epidemiological research among almost 80,000 Dutch people. She received her PhD from Wageningen University & Research on October 11. People with diabetes in particular seem to benefit from coffee consumption.
Maximum effect with 4 cups
Van Westing’s epidemiological research shows that every daily cup of coffee is associated with less kidney damage, with a maximum of 4 cups per day. The health benefits did not increase further from 5 cups of coffee. This, by the way, concerns unsweetened coffee. The research supports evidence from previous studies that coffee is good for kidney health in healthy people, but especially in people with diabetes.
Too early for advice
Should we now recommend (black) coffee en masse to maintain kidney health? According to Van Westing and her supervisor Prof. Marianne Geleijnse (professor of nutrition and cardiovascular disease), the nutritional advice for healthy kidneys may also include a few cups of coffee per day in the future, but it is still too early to give this as official advice. . “The research does not provide direct evidence,” Geleijnse emphasizes. ‘In this type of research we always have to take other confounding factors into account.’ That is why Van Westing believes that other researchers still need to confirm the results. Because coffee seems to have a positive effect on people with diabetes, the PhD candidate thinks that such a follow-up study should also focus specifically on that target group.
More attention to kidneys
Fiber for healthy intestines and not smoking for clean lungs: we regularly take specific organs into account in our lifestyle and diet. ‘But we still too often overlook the kidneys,’ says Geleijnse. She does not find this surprising, because kidney damage initially causes few or only subtle complaints, such as fatigue, itching, and being more prone to cold. Precisely because those symptoms are not that detrimental or unique, chronic kidney disease often goes unnoticed. Until the function drops too far. At such a late stage, a patient must quickly switch to dialysis or undergo a kidney transplant.
Diabetes and myocardial infarction
Despite the subtle symptoms, kidney damage is a leading cause of death. Kidney damage costs as many years of life as colon cancer. The decline in kidney function begins at the age of 35. The result is that 1.7 million Dutch people have an increased risk of premature death due to poorly functioning kidneys. According to Van Westing’s research, the decline in kidney function occurs twice as fast in people with diabetes and people who have had a heart attack. Kidney function should therefore be monitored extra closely in these groups.
Source: Wageningen University & Research