Does Caffeine in Food Protect Against Kidney Stones?

Caffeine may help prevent kidney stones.

Researchers tracked nearly 218,000 nurses and other health professionals for roughly eight years. Those who typically consumed around 350 milligrams of caffeine a day had a 20 to 25 percent lower risk of kidney stones than those who consumed no caffeine. (A 16 oz. grande coffee at Starbucks has 330 mg.)

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The researchers couldn’t be sure if it was coffee, rather than caffeine, that explained the lower risk. When they looked only at people who drank less than one cup of caffeinated coffee per day, caffeine was linked to a lower risk of kidney stones in men but not women.

In some 6,000 of the participants who collected urine samples over a 24-hour period, those who consumed the most caffeine excreted less oxalate. (Most kidney stones are made of calcium oxalate.)

What to do: Drink plenty of fluids to lower your risk of kidney stones. It’s too early to know if caffeine (or coffee) lowers risk further.

Source: Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2014. doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.089987

Other relevant links:

• Caffeine and cognitive decline. See: Caffeine and the Brain

• Caffeine may cause urinary leakage. See: Is Your Caffeine Consumption Causing Urinary Leakage?

• Avoid high-oxalate foods if you’re prone to kidney stones. See: Prone to Kidney Stones?

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