To explore the mechanisms behind the potential protective effect of coffee and tea consumption, regarding urinary stone formation, previously demonstrated in large epidemiological studies.
A systematic review was performed using the Medline, Cochrane library (CENTRAL) and Scopus databases, in concordance with the PRISMA statement. English, French and Spanish language studies, regarding the consumption of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and tea, and the relationship to urinary stone formation were reviewed. Meta-analyses, systematic reviews, case reports and letters, unpublished studies, posters and comments abstracts were excluded.
As per the inclusion criteria, 13 studies were included in the final review. The major findings show that caffeine increases urinary excretion of calcium, sodium and magnesium, in addition to a diuretic action with consumption > 300–360 mg (approximately four cups of coffee). Together with other components of coffee, this beverage might have potential protective effects against the formation of urinary stones. Tea exerts many protective effects against stone formation, through the accompanying water intake, the action of caffeine and the effects of components with antioxidant properties.
Caffeine has a hypercalciuric effect, balanced partially by a diuretic effect which appears after consumption of large quantities of caffeine. The current available literature supports in general, a potentially protective role for tea against stone formation, mainly for green tea. Additional standardization in this field of research, through specification of tea and coffee types studied, and their respective compositions, is needed for further clarification of the relation between coffee, tea and urinary stones.