A kidney stone, or nephrolithiasis, is a hard, crystalline mineral material formed within the kidney or urinary tract. Kidney stones form when there is a decrease in urine volume, and/or an excess of stone-forming substances in the urine. Dehydration is a major risk factor for kidney stone formation. They can be extremely painful and cause blood in the urine (hematuria).1
Impact of coffee on kidney stones
It is usually believed that drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages are bad for kidney stones. The thinking behind this is, firstly, caffeine is a diuretic, and so can cause dehydration, which is a risk factor for kidney stones, and secondly, coffee contains oxalate, which is thought to be a risk factor in kidney stones. However, it has been found that there is far less oxalate in coffee than previously thought. New evidence also shows that caffeine affects a hormone in the kidneys (antidiuretic hormone) in a way that leads to the production of more dilute urine, thereby reducing the risk of kidney stones. In fact, the data suggests that a single 8oz cup of coffee per day can reduce the risk of kidney stones by 10%. Just be careful to stay hydrated when drinking coffee, because dehydration still is a major risk factor of kidney stones.2
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