Wednesday, June 19, 2024
HomeCan Protein Damage Your Kidneys

Can Protein Damage Your Kidneys

Can Eating Too Much Protein Be Bad For You

Can Protein Harm Your Kidneys and Liver? Dr.Berg on Protein Side Effects

Answered under the premise that protein shakes are a direct protein supplement to diet, ignoring their detailed composition and basing answer on the above title. As with ALL supplements, read and understand the ingredients list and what makes those ingredients up. Look for full disclosure of ingredients on the labels and you can always check most supplements on

Click the next link for a comprehensive answer tailored to Whey Protein

You Dont Exercise And Sit For Long Hours

Not exercising and sitting for long hours has been linked to a lot of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart attack, and cancer. But experts now say that you are 30 percent likely to have kidney disease if you stay seated for more than eight hours and never do exercises.

In fact, one in 10 adults in the U.S. develop kidney problems because of a lack of exercise. When you exercise, you help your bodys circulation and improve your blood pressure level. Additionally, you keep yourself fit and maintain an ideal weight.

Exercise also keeps your cardiovascular muscles in good working order and this will benefit your kidney functions.

Can It Damage Your Liver

No evidence shows that too much protein can damage the liver in healthy people .

In fact, the liver needs protein to repair itself and convert fats to lipoproteins, which are molecules that help remove fats from the liver .

In a study of 11 obese women, taking 60 grams of a whey protein supplement helped reduce liver fat by approximately 21% over four weeks.

Moreover, it helped reduce blood triglycerides by approximately 15% and cholesterol by about 7% .

One case report implied that a 27-year old male could have suffered liver damage after taking whey protein supplements .

However, he was also taking a variety of other supplements. Doctors were also unsure if he was taking anabolic steroids, which can damage the liver .

Considering that thousands of people take whey protein without liver problems, this single case provides insufficient evidence that whey protein can damage the liver.

Although, a high protein intake may harm people who have cirrhosis, a chronic liver disease (

If you have liver disease, check with your doctor before taking whey protein.

Summary: There is no evidence that too much protein can damage the liver in healthy people. However, people with liver disease should check with their doctor about whether whey protein is safe for them.

Also Check: Is Miralax Safe For Kidney Patients

Does Too Much Whey Protein Cause Side Effects

Whey protein is one of the most popular supplements on the planet.

But despite its many health benefits, theres some controversy surrounding its safety.

Some claim that too much whey protein can damage the kidneys and liver and even cause osteoporosis.

This article provides an evidence-based review of whey proteins safety and side effects.

Good Genes Are Nice But Joy Is Better

Whey Protein Side Effect ?

Researchers at Brigham and Womens Hospital have found that high-protein diets may be associated with kidney function decline in women who already have mildly reduced kidney function. On further analysis, the risk was only significant for animal proteins, indicating that the source of protein may be an important factor. Researchers observed no association between high protein intake and decline in kidney function in women with normally functioning kidneys. These findings appear in the March 18 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

The potential impact of protein consumption on renal function has important public health implications given the prevalence of high-protein diets and use of protein supplements, said Eric C. Knight, BWH researcher. We found that among women with mildly reduced kidney function about 25 percent of individuals in our study a higher-protein diet may lead to accelerated decline in kidney function compared with a lower-protein diet.

Importantly, however, we also demonstrated that for women with normal renal function, high-protein diets appeared to have no adverse impact on their kidney function.

Approximately 20 million people suffer from chronic kidney disease and more than 20 million others are at increased risk. If the disease progresses to what is known as end-stage renal disease , dialysis or transplantation is required for survival.

Recommended Reading: Kidney Medical Term

How Much Protein Do I Need Heres The Answer

Now that you explained to the naysayers that more protein is better, how much should you recommend?

Currently the FDA recommendation for a daily protein intake is 50 grams for both men and women. This is a very general recommendation and isnt accurate for highly active clients.

For people who work out, for athletes and trainers, more protein is necessary to build muscle and aid in recovery.

At this point, there arent any studies showing that 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is harmful – although theres still ongoing research in this area.

For clients who are moderately to extremely active, 2 to 3 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight is a good general guideline.

This means that for an athlete who weighs 175 pounds , protein in the range of 160 to 240 grams per day is reasonable, much more than the FDA recommendation.

While helping a client figure out how much protein to eat, it is important to keep in mind that too much protein can be harmful for anyone with kidney disease or kidney damage. For clients with kidney damage, a recommended intake is about 0.6 grams per kilogram. 6

Unfortunately, chronic kidney disease is known as a silent disease. Symptoms are hard to detect, but you can get some simple tests done at your doctors office to find out if you have any issues with your kidneys.

Can Whey Protein Cause Osteoporosis

The relationship between protein intake and bones has created some controversy.

There is some concern that too much protein may cause calcium to leach from the bones and increase the risk of osteoporosis, a disease characterized by hollow and porous bones .

This idea came from earlier studies that showed a higher protein intake made urine more acidic (

36 ).

Summary: There is no evidence that whey protein can cause osteoporosis. In fact, whey protein may help prevent the disease.

Read Also: Is Wine Good For Kidney Stones

Should I Keep Taking My High Blood Pressure Medication

Hypertension is a common cause of kidney problems. Hypertension damages the blood vessels of the kidneys and affects their ability to filter the blood. Kidneys also help to regulate blood pressure, so kidney damage can make hypertension worse. Over time, hypertension can cause kidney failure.

If you are living with hypertension, you might take medication for the problem. You may be reading news reports questioning the safety of taking certain prescription medicines to manage their condition: ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers .

Sperati says that patients should stay on their medications and discuss concerns with their doctors.

Right now there are two sides debating this issue. One side is saying, based on animal studies, that these medications might be harmful, increasing risk of infection. The other says these same drugs might protect against lung damage and other problems associated with COVID-19.

But all of the professional societies have published articles recommending that you not change your medications, he says. Staying the course with your prescriptions, he adds, can lower the risk of heart and kidney damage from unchecked high blood pressure.

Sperati does recommend that patients with kidney issues stay away from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen and naproxen. These can raise blood pressure and increase fluid volume in the body, which puts strain on the kidneys.

How Much Protein Is Too Much

Do High Protein Diets Damage Your Kidneys?

The body is in a constant state of flux, constantly breaking down and rebuilding its own tissues.

Under certain circumstances, our need for protein can increase. This includes periods of sickness or increased physical activity.

We need to consume enough protein for these processes to occur.

However, if we eat more than we need, the excess protein will be broken down and used for energy.

Even though a relatively high protein intake is healthy and safe, eating massive amounts of protein is unnatural and may cause harm. Traditional populations got most of their calories from fat or carbs, not protein.

Exactly how much protein is harmful is unclear and likely varies between people.

One study in healthy, strength-training men showed that eating around 1.4 grams per pound of body weight every day for a year didnt have any adverse health effects .

Even eating 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight for 2 months did not appear to cause any side effects (

Also Check: Can Apple Cider Vinegar Hurt Your Kidneys

Diagnosis Of Nephrotic Syndrome

Diagnosing nephrotic syndrome involves a number of tests, including:

  • urine tests excessive protein makes the urine appear frothy and foamy. A test for albumin/creatinine ratio may be done to measure the amount of albumin in the urine in relation to the amount of creatinine
  • blood tests these estimate the glomerular filtration rate , which shows how well the kidneys are working
  • biopsy a small sample of kidney tissue is taken and examined in a laboratory.

Healthy Kidneys And Whey Protein

The University of Connecticut conducted a studied called “Dietary Protein Intake and Renal Function,” showing there isn’t any concern for people with healthy kidneys who consume high amounts of whey protein. The study references recent research on high protein diets for both weight loss and athletes, which have found no negative impact on kidney function. The conclusion finds there is no evidence that supports the idea that high protein intake is a cause of kidney damage or dysfunction.

Read Also: Is Pomegranate Juice Good For Your Kidneys

Will I Need To Change My Diet If I Have Kidney Disease

Your kidneys help to keep the right balance of nutrients and minerals in your body. But if you have kidney disease, your kidneys may not be able to do this job very well. You may need to make some changes to your diet.

Ask your doctor about meeting with a Registered Dietitian with special training in kidney disease. A dietitian can teach you to make the best food choices based on your lab tests and personal lifestyle. Making changes in your diet to better control diabetes and high blood pressure can also help to keep kidney disease from getting worse. Meeting with a dietitian is a covered service by Medicare. The service may also be a covered benefit by other types of insurance. You may need to call your insurance provider to find out if meeting with a dietitian is covered by your plan.

Looking for nutrition guidance? Contact a CKD dietitian in your area.

Can It Cause Constipation And Nutritional Deficiencies


Constipation is not a normal side effect of whey protein.

For a few people, a lactose intolerance may cause constipation by slowing the movement of the gut .

However, constipation is more likely caused when people eat fewer fruits and vegetables in favor of whey protein, especially when theyre on a low-carb diet.

Fruits and vegetables are a great source of fiber, which helps form stool and promotes regular bowel movements .

If you suspect that whey protein makes you constipated, check whether you are eating enough fruits and vegetables. You can also try taking a soluble fiber supplement.

Another reason why replacing whole foods with whey protein is a bad idea is because it may increase your risk of nutrient deficiencies.

Whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables, are nutrient-rich and contain a variety of minerals necessary for optimal health.

Therefore, its important to keep eating a balanced diet while youre taking whey protein.

Summary: You may be at risk of constipation and nutrient deficiencies if you replace fruits and vegetables in your diet with whey protein. Eating a balanced diet can help counter these effects.

You May Like: Can You Have 4 Kidneys

Why Might I Need To Control Protein Sodium Phosphorus Calcium Or Potassium

Eating the right amount of protein, sodium, potassium or phosphorus may help control the buildup of waste and fluid in your blood. This means your kidneys do not have to work as hard to remove the extra waste and fluid.


Your body needs protein to help build muscle, repair tissue, and fight infection. If you have kidney disease, you may need to watch how much protein you eat. Having too much protein can cause waste to build up in your blood. Your kidneys may not be able to remove all the extra waste. It is important to eat the right amount of protein each day. The amount of protein you need is based on your body size, your kidney problem, and the amount of protein that may be in your urine. Protein intake should not be too low, or it may cause other problems. Your dietitian or healthcare provider can tell you how much protein you should eat.


Healthy kidneys control how much sodium is in your body. If your kidneys do not work well, too much sodium can cause fluid buildup, swelling, higher blood pressure, and strain on your heart. Your dietitian or healthcare provider can tell you the right amount of sodium you should have each day.



As kidney function gets lower, extra phosphorus can start building up in the blood. High phosphorus levels can cause bones to get weaker. Your dietitian or healthcare provider can tell you if you need to limit goods that are high in phosphorus.


Protein Intake And Kidney Function

So, can high protein diets cause kidney damage?

Not according to the evidence.

Although it was theorized that long-term high protein consumption would cause side effects, clinical trials on human participants do not support this hypothesis.

In recent years, there have been several studies that investigated this issue, and they all show no link between protein intake and adverse markers of kidney health.

However, some studies suggest that keeping protein intake at a moderate level may help people with pre-existing kidney disease .

Don’t Miss: Safe Laxative For Kidney Disease

Understanding The Renal Diet: Protein

The most common question that dietitians hear from patients diagnosed with CKD is “what should I eat?” It can seem confusing when you hear or read different things. Renal diets minimize the amount of waste in the blood and decrease the amount of work the kidneys do. Protein, sodium, potassium and phosphorus are the main considerations of a renal diet.Over the next few blog entries I’ll be discussing the general dietary guidelines for CKD to hopefully answer that question.

Kidneys are your bodys filters. When you have CKD you lose the ability to get rid of nitrogenous protein wastes from foods you eat or drink, and it starts to build up in your blood. This is called uremia. Symptoms of uremia are nausea, bad taste in the mouth, loss of appetite, nausea and weakness. If you have CKD stages 1 or 2 eating less protein can slow down the progression of kidney disease. Protein comes from both animal sources like beef, pork, poultry, eggs, fish, shellfish, and dairy and plant sources including beans, legumes and tofu. Protein powder supplements are usually made from whey or soy and are not recommended on a low protein diet. If your tests show you have protein in your urine or high blood urea levels , or both, eating less protein becomes very important. Too much protein can irreversibly damage your kidneys. Protein requirements are determined by your stage of kidney disease, your weight, your urine protein results, whether or not you have diabetes, and your nutritional status.

What Is The High

Can a HIGH PROTEIN DIET damage your KIDNEYS? | Sports Dietitian answers

A balanced diet must have a healthy mix of proteins , carbohydrates , healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals for various bodily functions. As long as one is following a healthy and balanced diet, there is no unhealthy weight gain.

However, those with weight issues as well as athletes, sportspersons, and body-builders like to try high-protein diets because of their ability to shed weight without losing out on lean-muscle mass. As the name implies, in a high-protein diet, the quantity of protein is increased while that of carbohydrates is reduced. The percentage of protein may vary from 15 to 35% of your overall calorie consumption. Also, a high-protein diet is not a single diet but has multiple versions such as Atkins, Zone, Sugar Busters, Dukan, Protein Power, Montignac, Stillman, Scarsdale, etc depending on the composition of food in them.

High-protein diets are also called Ketogenic or keto diets as the body is said to go into a state of ketogenesis while on the diet. We have already covered the Keto diet in an earlier article.

Also Read:

Recommended Reading: Is Grape Juice Good For Kidney Stones

Risk Of Kidney Damage And Whey Protein

When increased amounts of whey protein are taken over an extended period of time, there is a risk of developing kidney disorders, including kidney stones. High protein diets rich in whey can be a health concern that may lead to possible impaired function of the kidneys. Consuming a high protein diet for weight loss stresses the kidneys, which are responsible for flushing wastes. Those who rely on this diet for an extended period are at a higher risk of developing kidney problems, kidney stones and in severe cases, kidney failure. However, there isn’t conclusive research that links excessive, long-term whey protein consumption with deteriorating kidney function. Regardless, many experts caution that there is a risk and encourage individuals to consume whey protein in moderation.

Our Kidneys Filter Proteins Waste Products

As our body metabolizes protein, the process generates various nitrogenous waste products such as urea, uric acid, creatinine, and hippuric acid .

These waste products need filtering out of the body for excretion, and this responsibility belongs to our kidneys.

This task requires a lot of hard work, which is quite normal for the kidneys they receive and process approximately 1.2 liters of blood per minute. This amount accounts for around 25% of all cardiac output, which shows the importance of the organ .

If waste products build up in our body, they become toxic, and so the kidneys play a crucial role in removing these products.

As a result, many people assume that higher protein intake leads to a higher kidney workload, and the extra demand causes kidney strain.

Also Check: What Is The Va Disability Rating For Kidney Disease


Most Popular