Study: Coffee, caffeinated products may reduce the risk of kidney stones
Using genetic data, researchers in Sweden have shown increased use of coffee and caffeinated products may lead to a reduction in kidney stones.
“Kidney stone disease is a common problem that afflicts up to around 15% of the population,” Shuai Yuan, BMed, MMedSc, with the unit of cardiovascular and nutritional epidemiology at the Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and Susanna C. Larsson, PhD, with the unit of medical epidemiology in the department of surgical sciences at Uppsala University in Uppsala, Sweden, wrote. “Habitual coffee and caffeine consumption have been associated with a reduced risk of kidney stones in a large body of observational studies.
“Nevertheless, whether these associations are causal has not been established due to the possibility of confounding in observational studies and the lack of data from randomized controlled trials.”
Mendelian randomization, used in the study, “takes the random allocation of genes at conception and uses them as instrumental variables to explore the causal association between an exposure and an outcome,” Pietro Manuel Ferraro, MD, MSc, PhD, and Gary C. Curhan, MD, ScD, wrote in an accompanying editorial. “When the assumptions of MR hold, estimates obtained with this technique can be regarded as causal and unbiased estimates of the true association of interest.”
Yuan and Larsson used data from 571,657 patients with kidney stones from two studies, including 395,044 participants of the U.K. Biobank study and 176,613 participants from the FinnGen study.
“Our findings show that going from, for example, one cup [of coffee] a day to 1.5 cups per day, reduces the risk of kidney stones by 40%,” Larsson said in a press release from the National Kidney Foundation. “Our findings strongly suggest that regular coffee consumption reduces the risk of kidney stone formation.”
More than half a million people go to emergency rooms for kidney stone problems every year, according to the NKF.