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If you need an excuse to start the day with a cup of coffee, a recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine shows that drinking one cup of coffee a day reduces the risk of acute kidney injury .The findings, published May 5 in the scientific journal 

Kidney International Reports , reveal that daily coffee consumption, regardless of the amount, reduces the risk of acute kidney injury by 15%, with an even lower risk among those who drink two or three cups of coffee daily, with a reduction of between 22 and 23%.

“While we were already aware of the relationship between regular coffee consumption and the prevention of chronic and degenerative diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver disease, we can now add to the benefits of caffeine the reduction of risk of acute kidney injury,” says study author Dr. Chirag Parikh, director of the Division of Nephrology and professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University.

Acute kidney injury is defined as abrupt renal dysfunction that occurs within a few hours or days and leads to accumulation of waste products in the blood and impaired fluid homeostasis.

This syndrome frequently appears in hospitalized patients who present deterioration of renal function due to complications and physiological alterations derived from surgical and pharmacological interventions. The symptoms of the injury depend on the cause, being frequent the decrease in the excretion of urine, the edema in the legs, the ankles and the region around the eyes, exhaustion, shortness of breath, disorientation, nausea, chest pain and, in severe cases, epileptic seizures or coma.

Researchers examined data from a study of cardiovascular disease in four US regions, called the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study , and identified 14,207 adults, mean age 54, who enrolled in the study between 1987 and 1989. During Over a 24-year period, participants were asked seven times about the number of 8-ounce cups of coffee they consumed daily: zero, one, two, or three or more than three. During the research period, 1,694 cases of acute kidney injury were recorded.

Even when assessing the sociodemographic and socioeconomic characteristics, as well as the lifestyle and eating habits of the participants, it was established that the risk of acute kidney injury was lower by 15% for the subgroup that consumed coffee, regardless of the amount , compared to the one who did not. When studying the presence of concomitant factors, such as blood pressure, body mass index, the presence of diabetes, the consumption of antihypertensive drugs and kidney function, those who drank coffee had an 11% lower risk of suffering from the disease than those who they did not drink the drink.

“We assume that the reason why coffee affects the reduction of the risk of acute kidney injury is that it improves perfusion and oxygen consumption in the kidneys, either due to the effect of caffeine itself or due to its combination with bioactive components,” explains Dr. Parikh. “Adequate renal function and tolerance to injury depend on a constant supply of blood and oxygen.”

Dr. Parikh points out that more studies are needed to determine the renal protection mechanisms associated with coffee consumption, especially at the cellular level.

“It has been suggested that caffeine inhibits the production of molecules that generate chemical imbalances and increase oxygen consumption in the kidneys, so it is possible that this compound favors renal homeostasis.”

Both Dr. Parikh and the investigators caution that more research is imperative to assess the impact of consuming other caffeinated beverages, such as tea and soft drinks, in determining the risk of acute kidney injury, and the addition of milk, cream, sugar or sweeteners to coffee.

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