The BAD Effects of Energy Drinks on Kidneys
Energy drinks are extremely popular. It’s understandable. Most people are tired, and the consumption of energy drinks is an easy pick me up. They come packed with caffeine and vitamins and herbs that do provide a boost of energy. However, they also come with some dangerous health risks and harmful effects. If you have kidney disease, these health risks can be deadly.
Is Energy Drink Consumption (5 Hour Energy, Red Bull, Etc.) Bad For Your Kidneys?
Let’s talk about the effects of energy drinks. They contain B vitamins, caffeine content, taurine (an amino acid), and some herbs like ginseng. Many of them are high in sugar too, which can be a problem.
It’s been shown that the high caffeine in energy drinks can cause blood pressure to increase. High blood pressure causes damage to your kidneys and further reduces their ability to filter. Caffeine is also a diuretic and increased intake will make you go to the bathroom more often. This diuretic effect directly impacts your hydration and kidney function. And while Taurine has protective benefits, high levels of Taurine can cause kidney damage.
It’s also not uncommon for people with Type II Diabetes to have kidney damage or kidney failure. So, the high levels of added sugars in most energy drinks can cause blood sugar spikes and contribute to worsening kidney health over time.
Additionally, energy drinks can be high in potassium and phosphorus. People on a renal diet are instructed to limit levels of these nutrients as they progress towards ESRD.
Are sugar-free energy drinks bad for your kidneys?
While sugar-free cans of energy drinks don’t cause the same blood sugar spikes, they still have negative effects and can cause harm. Sugar free energy drinks damage your kidneys by raising blood pressure and heart rate. They also still contain potassium and phosphorus.
Can energy drinks cause kidney failure?
Generally speaking, an occasional energy drink isn’t going to cause kidney injury or failure. However, drinking energy drinks on a daily basis or even several a week, can lead to chronic kidney damage and chronic kidney disease because of the increased blood pressure. They’re just not recommended for daily intake.
Why Energy Drinks Are Bad for Kidneys?
There are varying degrees of kidney damage and kidney failure, right? Your current diagnosis may impact the damage that energy drinks cause your kidneys. For example, if you have Stage 5 kidney disease you may be on fluid restrictions. You have to be strategic about your fluid intake and an energy drink is a harmful choice.
Caffeine in an energy drink is harmful. In addition to increasing blood pressure and heart rate, which damages the small vessels in your kidneys, and it’s also a diuretic which can cause fluid imbalance. And common nutrients in these drinks, like potassium and phosphorus, are often restricted on a renal diet.
How Kidneys Respond After Drinking Energy Drinks
Did you know that it can take the average person’s kidneys 12 hours to completely remove caffeine from their system? And that time goes up incrementally depending on your level of kidney failure. So, one energy drink may stay in your body for more than a day. Your kidneys, which are already compromised, are now working extra hard to remove caffeine and other energy drink ingredients from your body.
The caffeine works as a diuretic, so your kidneys have to work overtime to manage fluid balance in your body and now your blood pressure is increased, which is damaging the blood vessels in your kidneys. It’s a lose / lose situation if you’re a kidney. And if you have kidney failure, you need to have awareness about energy drinks.
How can I boost my energy with kidney disease?
It’s understandable. We all want a little boost from time to time. Maybe you’re dealing with the midday slump. Maybe you aren’t sleeping well. Or perhaps you just want a bit of extra energy before a long drive or a big presentation.
There are simple, and healthier, steps you can take instead of consuming an energy drink.
- Go for a walk to get your blood flowing and your oxygen levels up.
- Deep breathing. It calms your nervous system and increases oxygenation.
- Drink some coffee. Coffee has caffeine, but it has MUCH less than the average energy drink and when consumed black or with a healthy milk alternative, it doesn’t come with the other harmful ingredients.
- Have a healthy snack. Eat some berries or a handful of nuts. The vitamins and minerals help promote energy levels.
- And over time simple things like good sleep habits, stress reduction, exercise, and a healthy diet will help improve your day-to-day energy levels. You won’t need an energy drink to pick you up.
Energy Drink Alternatives for Kidney Patients
If you absolutely must have a beverage to help you wake up, there are some healthier options than a standard energy drink.
Is coffee good for kidneys?
Coffee is a better option than an energy drink for kidney health. However, it’s important to keep your caffeine intake to one cup of coffee, and not a Venti from Starbucks! We’re talking more like an 8–10-ounce cup of coffee. Keep it sugar free, no syrups, and make sure you’re choosing a healthy milk alternative to reduce your phosphorus intake. A good old-fashioned cup of black coffee from a coffee pot at home is a reasonable option.
Can you drink tea with renal failure?
Another option for an energy boost is tea. It generally has less caffeine than coffee and offers some health benefits. Green tea, for example, is high in antioxidants. Because it’s lower in caffeine it doesn’t have the same impact on blood pressure.
Protein shakes to help boost your energy
There are some protein shakes and bars that are made specifically for a renal diet. Make sure, if you’re looking at these types of products, that they aren’t also high in sugar. In one popular brand, the second ingredient after water, is corn syrup. Not great for folks with Type II Diabetes!
You can also make your own energy drinks. Find your favorite milk alternative and add a scoop of chocolate powder or your favorite fruits. A mixed berry smoothie is packed with energy and nutrients.
If you’re tempted to reach for an energy drink, remember that there are healthy and safe alternatives. Experiment with some of the options discussed and find a solution that works for you.
Energy Drinks Are a Bad Idea If You Have Kidney Failure
Energy drinks like Monster and Red Bull are bad for kidney health and can have adverse health effects to renal function. These caffeinated energy drinks can increase blood pressure and heart rate causing kidney damage. The increased urination which imbalances the fluid your kidneys, and body, need to function optimally. They can contain elements like Taurine, Potassium, and Phosphorus which in high levels can cause kidney damage. And they’re often high in sugar which can lead to worsening Diabetes. Bottom line, plan ahead. Find good energy alternatives like a cup of tea or coffee, which won’t cause the same damaging health problems that an energy drink can.