Can Your Favorite Cup of Coffee Damage Kidneys Or Cause Cancer?

Can Coffee Damage Kidneys or Cause Cancer?
19 Jun 2024
6 mins
Table Of Content
Can Your Favorite Cup of Coffee Damage Kidneys Or Cause Cancer?

    Stop, stop! Now you ‘thinking bout it now and then oh, and heading straight to your coffee machine!’ Isn’t that sweet? We guess so (not). 

    Your body does need caffeine, but in a way, it does not start impacting its normal functioning. 

    So, can that daily morning or evening cuppa be bad for your health? This blog will take you through that question and many more such ones. On another note, it is written by an ardent coffee lover in search of real facts :). Anyway, let’s get started!


    Can coffee damage your kidneys?


    Well, it is not unknown that coffee derives its name from caffeine, and it can have both positive and negative effects on the kidneys.

    1. Caffeine Content: Moderate caffeine consumption is generally safe for healthy individuals, and some studies suggest it can even enhance cognitive function and alertness.

    For example, someone with hypertension who consumes multiple shots of espresso daily might experience worsening of their condition due to increased blood pump rate and bladder strain from the high caffeine intake.

    2. Diuretic Effect: Caffeine can act as a diuretic, increasing urine production. This effect is typically mild and not harmful for most people, but it can become problematic for people aged above 45 or with chronic diseases.

     Increased urine production can lead to dehydration if fluid intake is not adequate, potentially impacting kidney function.


    3. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): Research on coffee and CKD is mixed. Some studies indicate that moderate coffee consumption might lower the risk of developing CKD, while excessive intake could exacerbate existing kidney issues.

     Coffee's potential benefits on kidney health are due to its antioxidant properties, which can help reduce inflammation and protect against cellular damage. 

    4. Hydration: Proper hydration is essential for health, especially when consuming caffeinated beverages like cappuccino or latte. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help mitigate the diuretic effects of caffeine.


    Does drinking coffee increase cancer risk?


    Concerns about espresso and cancer risk often centre around acrylamide, a chemical formed during the roasting of coffee beans. Here’s a detailed look at what you need to know:

    1. Acrylamide Levels: Coffee, including espresso, contains acrylamide, a compound that has been linked to cancer in animal studies. Acrylamide, a cancer-causing chemical, forms during the roasting process of coffee beans and is present in various cooked foods. However, human studies have not conclusively shown that coffee increases cancer risk.

    For instance, although acrylamide has been shown to cause cancer in lab animals exposed to very high levels, the amounts found in coffee are much lower and less likely to pose a significant risk to humans.

    2. IARC Classification: The IARC has put out several studies suggesting that there isn’t enough evidence to support a direct link between coffee and cancer, particularly after reviewing more recent studies that did not find consistent evidence of an increased cancer risk from coffee consumption.

    3. Antioxidants: Coffee is rich in antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. These antioxidants may, in turn, lower the risk of certain cancers, including liver and colorectal cancer.

    Additionally, some studies have suggested that regular coffee consumption can reduce the risk of heart disease, particularly in women. For example, chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant found in coffee, has been shown to have anti-cancer properties. 

    Studies have also suggested that regular coffee consumption can reduce the risk of liver cancer by up to 40% and colorectal cancer by up to 15%. 


    4. Studies on Coffee Consumption: Numerous studies indicate that coffee consumption does not increase cancer risk and might even offer protective benefits. For instance, one published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that coffee drinkers had a lower risk of liver cancer compared to non-coffee drinkers.

    Other studies have also shown that coffee consumption is associated with a reduced risk of endometrial and prostate cancers. 

    5. Moderation: Health experts recommend limiting caffeine intake to around 400 mg per day, which is roughly equivalent to four shots of espresso. This amount allows coffee lovers to enjoy their favourite beverage without significantly increasing health risks.


    Is coffee bad for your heart?


    Coffee, including espresso, has been scrutinised for its effects on heart health. For most people, this is not a significant concern, but individuals with hypertension should monitor their intake. 

    Some medications, like Aldactone or Amlodac, that help control blood pressure might pose a risk when combined with high caffeine intake. Coffee also contains cafestol and kahweol, compounds found in unfiltered coffee that can raise cholesterol levels. 

    However, the impact is relatively small with moderate consumption. High doses of caffeine can lead to irregular heart rhythms in sensitive individuals, so moderation is crucial to avoid this issue.


    How much coffee is safe to drink daily?


    Moderation is key when it comes to coffee consumption. Here are five guidelines to help you determine how much coffee is safe for you:

    1. General Recommendation: Most health experts recommend limiting caffeine intake to 400 mg per day, which is about 4-5 shots of espresso or about four 8-ounce cups of brewed coffee.

    2. Personal Tolerance: Everyone's tolerance to caffeine varies. Some people may experience jitters or insomnia with lower amounts, while others can handle more without issues. For example, someone who gets jittery after one cup should consider limiting their intake to avoid discomfort.

    3. Health Conditions: Those with certain health conditions, such as anxiety, insomnia, or heart problems, should consult their healthcare provider about safe caffeine levels. For instance, individuals with hypertension should monitor their coffee consumption closely to prevent exacerbating their condition.

    4. Pregnancy: Pregnant women are advised to limit caffeine intake to 200 mg per day, roughly equivalent to two shots of espresso or about two 8-ounce cups of brewed coffee. High caffeine intake during pregnancy can increase the risk of complications, including miscarriage and pre-term birth, so it’s important to follow these guidelines. 


    It's also worth noting that caffeine can be found in other sources such as tea, chocolate, and some medications, so it's important to consider your overall caffeine intake.


    5. Hydration and Diet: Balance your coffee intake with plenty of water and a nutritious diet to support overall health. Coffee’s diuretic effect can lead to dehydration if not balanced with adequate water intake.

    Enjoying your cup of ‘motivation’ in moderation is generally safe and can even offer several health benefits. Evidence, as detailed in here, suggests that moderate coffee consumption does not significantly increase the risk of kidney damage or cancer and might actually reduce the risk of certain diseases due to its antioxidant properties. 

    When considering heart health, weight management, and daily caffeine intake, moderation remains key. Balancing your espresso habit with a nutritious diet and adequate hydration will allow you to savour each shot without undue concern. 

    Written by
    Dr. Tejashwin AdigaMBBS
    AboutDr. Tejashwin Adiga is a skilled and compassionate physician. He is dedicated to providing high-quality care and prioritizes patient education and preventive medicine. Known for his personalized approach, Dr. Adiga ensures each patient receives tailored treatment. His motto is to stay updated with medical advancements to offer the best care possible, making him a trusted and respected healthcare provider.
    Tags :How much coffee is safe to drinkcoffee cancer linkcan coffee cause kidney damagecoffee consumption habits