Coffee drinkers face higher risk of kidney disease, study says

BALTIMORE — Coffee drinkers are more likely to develop kidney disease, a new study warns. Scientists found metabolites in the blood connected to coffee consumption which could increase the risk of the life-threatening condition.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined 372 blood metabolites in almost 5,000 people. They found one coffee-related metabolite may help our kidneys become healthier.

However, study authors discovered two other metabolites which also appear in the blood after smoking and contribute to renal problems. When the kidneys begin to fail, they’re unable to filter out waste and toxins begin to build up. In the disease’s later stages, patients may need their blood filtered by a machine (dialysis) or require a kidney transplant.

“A large body of scientific evidence has suggested that consuming a large amount of coffee is consistent with a healthy diet,” Dr. Casey Rebholz, a Johns Hopkins associate professor of epidemiology, tells South West News Service in a statement. “We were able to identify one metabolite that supports this theory.”

“There were two other metabolites associated with coffee that surprisingly were associated with a higher risk of incident chronic kidney disease,” Dr. Rebholz continues. “These compounds were also associated with cigarette smoking, which may in part explain why these compounds were associated with a higher risk of kidney disease.”

Study authors note they did not account for differences in people’s self-reported coffee consumption. They add that they’ll need to conduct further tests to confirm their discovery.

The findings appear in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

South West News Service writer Gwyn Wright contributed to this report.