Chronic kola nut consumption and its effect on uric acid level and lipid profile


chinwe Ewenighi, Uchechukwu Dimkpa, Linus Onoh, Gladys Onoh, Uchechukwu Ezeugwu, Joy Dibia

Background: Kola nut, a caffeine rich nut is widely consumed in West African cultures as food, drug and beverages. Little is known about the health implications of kola nut consumption in humans. Aim: The present study therefore aimed at assessing the effects of chronic consumption of kola nut on uric acid and lipid profiles in humans. Method: Thirty chronic kola nut consumers with mean ± sd age of 55.3 ± 9.15 yrs and their age-matched non-kola nut consuming controls with mean ± sd age of 57.5 ± 7.85 yrs were recruited from Uburu in Ohozara Local Government Area (L.G.A) of Ebonyi State, Nigeria. Blood samples were collected for the measurements of uric acid and lipid profile. Assays were done by enzymatic colorimetric methods. Result: The chronic kola nut consumers had significantly (p<0.001) higher levels of uric acid, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), triglyceride (Tg) and total cholesterol when compared to their controls. On the contrary, kola nut consumers had significantly (p<0.001) lower high density lipoprotein (HDL) compared to the control. The incidence of hyperuricemia among kola nut consumers is 73.5% compared to 26.5% seen in control subjects. 95.5% of kola nut consumers had low HDL level and only 4.5% seen in control subjects. Logistic regression analysis indicated that the chronic kola nut consumers were at greater risk of hyperuricemia (OR = 11.66; 95% C.I., 3.38-40.22); abnormally low HDL (OR = 67.66; 95% C.I., 7.95-575.67); high Tg (OR = 30.0; 95% C.I., 1.81-4.97) and hypercholesterolemia (OR = 4.92; 95% C.I., 1.61-15.07) compared to the control. Conclusion: Chronic kola nut consumption raises the blood levels of uric acid, LDL, triglyceride and total cholesterol but lowers HDL level.