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Is Protein Harmful For Kidney

/1310 Side Effects Of Whey Protein You Should Be Aware Of

Is Whey Protein Damaging For Your Kidneys?

With gyms being closed across the country, quarantines and lockdowns got us all working out at our homes to achieve that perfect summer body. Be it yogasanas, lifting weights or treadmill runs, we have somehow found our way through it all. For those who are working out, supplements or specifically protein supplements can act as catalysts for muscle building and increasing athletic abilities. Protein is an important element for rebuilding and repairing our muscles, both processes integral to bodybuilding.

Can Too Much Protein Be Harmful To Your Kidneys

Increased muscle mass, strong bones, and encouraging a healthy metabolism are just some of the benefits associated with a high protein intake and are notably why protein tends to play a vital role in those who lift weights or are trying to gain muscle.

And while adding protein to our diets has important benefits for us all , too much protein can potentially be harmful to the kidneys with studies showing that a high protein diet can cause kidney stones and can worsen kidney function in those already living with kidney disease.

But What Is A High Protein Diet Exactly

If were going to start talking smack about high protein diets, we need to define what we mean, and people are generally bad at doing that. Sometimes its defined as percentage of total calories, sometimes its grams per pound of bodyweight, and the cutoffs are always arbitrary and vary by researcher, field, or consensus.

The RDI suggests 0.36 grams per pound of bodyweight, or 0.8 grams per kilogram. Anyone whos been in the strength game for a while will be more familiar with another number: 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, every day. Two hundred grams for a two-hundred-pound person.

Were not trying to say that is the optimal amount of protein to consume many get by just fine on much less but thats the number we hear thrown around the most.

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What Is Whey Protein

Whey is one of the proteins found in cows milk and other dairy products. If you recall the nursery rhyme, Little Miss Muffet, you may remember that she sat on a tuffet eating her curds and whey. Whey is the liquid byproduct of the cheesemaking process. To make whey-based protein supplements, the liquid whey is processed into a powder form. During this process, some of the lactose and fat is removed to render a product thats about 90-95 percent protein.

Is A High Protein Diet Bad For The Kidneys

The Real Truth About Protein Powders And Kidney Damage ...

This idea gained steam after some studies were published in the late 1980s and early 1990s that showed the more protein people consumed, the greater their glomerular filtration rate , a marker for waste filtration in the kidneys. Scientists claimed that increased GFR meant the kidneys were experiencing undue stress.

But later studies showed that it wasnt the case for folks with healthy kidneys.

Theres also research that specifically looked at athletes. A crossover study of resistance-trained males found that guys who ate 3 grams per kilogram of bodyweight had no harmful effects on kidney or liver function. Another study of bodybuilders consuming upwards of 1.3 grams per pound bodyweight also had no problems with the way their kidneys cleared creatinine, urea, and albumin.

So, problem solved, right?

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The Rise In Popularity Of High

The estimated average requirement for protein intake is 0.6 g of protein per kilogram of ideal body weight per day, which corresponds to the amount of protein required to avoid negative nitrogen balance and to meet half of a populations requirements. The recommended daily allowance for protein intake is 0.83 g/kg per day and is calculated to meet the requirements of 97%98% of the population . Although there is a lack of consensus regarding the formal definition of a high-protein diet, most definitions set a threshold between 1.2 and 2.0 g/kg per day. Within this range, protein consumption > 1.5 g/kg per day is generally considered to be a high-protein diet. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show that the current average consumption of protein in the United States is estimated to be approximately 1.21.4 g/kg per day, which is higher than the recommended amount. Popular weight-loss diets encourage higher amounts of protein while restricting the amount of carbohydrates, based on the assumption that all carbohydrates are undesirablean assumption that has been refuted in the literature. Although such diets vary, these weight-loss strategies typically recommend that 25%35% of calories consumed should be from protein and < 45% of calories should be from carbohydrates . In extreme cases, such as the ketogenic diet, < 5%10% of calories are from carbohydrates.

Is A High Protein Diet Really Bad For Your Kidneys

If theres one thing popular opinion is good at, its scaring you off of doing healthy things. If its not mid-20th century doctors warning that lifting weights would lead to heart problems and low sex drive, or modern experts saying kids shouldnt lift weights, or the fear of anyone squatting deep, or women being told that strength will make them bulky the list goes on. Today we want to look at perhaps the most common aspect of dieting seen among athletes: the high protein diet.

Editors note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. If you are suffering or suspect you may be suffering from any illness or medical condition, please seek advice from a medical professional. Its always a good idea to talk to your doctor before making any large changes to your diet or training protocol, and regular check-ups can be helpful in this regard.

If it makes you look, feel, and perform great, there has to be something wrong with it. Isnt it bad for your kidneys? Yeah. High protein diets are bad for your kidneys. All these idiots lifting weights and chugging protein shakes are destroying their bodies. Armed with this information, I can avoid diet and exercise and feel good about it.

Lets unpack this a little.

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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.

Renal Function Following Long

Kidney: Protein In Urine = Bad? (Dramatic Health)

This randomized controlled study investigated if low carb diets have any risks to kidney function .

68 participants were equally split into two groups, and they were put on one of two diets

  • Diet 1: Very low carbohydrate
  • Diet 2: High carbohydrate diet

As shown, both diets contained a respectable amount of protein, but the VLC diet provided significantly more than current recommendations at 35% of energy.

Full health markers for kidney health were taken before and after the study.

After a period of 12-months, there were no changes in either group to serum creatinine or glomerular filtration rate .

In short, this study showed very high protein diets dont adversely affect kidney health in individuals with abdominal obesity.

Compared with higher carbohydrate diets, there is no adverse effect from low carb, high protein diets.

Key Point:

Also Check: Can Kidney Stones Raise Blood Sugar

Samantha Carter Ms Rd Ld

Samantha Carter, MS, RD, LD has been a registered dietitian since 2012 and a DaVita dietitian since 2017. She has previous experience in acute-care hospitals and long-term nursing facilities. Samantha finds her previous work has given her a passion for kidney disease and an understanding in complications associated with the disease. Besides nutrition, Samantha also has a passion for the outdoors, traveling to adventurous places, and playing sports .

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How Much Protein Is Too Much

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 (

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Does Collagen Have An Effect On Kidneys

Written by Hannah Marchese Updated on June 24, 2021

Collagen supplements can have a different effect on everyone, but it is widely reported to be a miracle worker when it comes to your skin, hair, nails, and joints. With little to no side effects , collagen is an extremely safe and effective supplement that is likely suitable for everyone.

With plenty of different types and varieties, you have tons of options to see what works for your body. The collagen type that gives you results may not be the one that works for someone else, and that’s ok. Dietary supplements can be tricky, and you may need to try a few different varieties at first.

Collagen is a protein found in our bodies, and it is formed through chains of amino acids. It’s largely found and used in our skin, joints, and connective tissues. The main types of collagen in supplements include type I collagen, type II collagen, and type III collagen.

The varieties include collagen peptides, collagen protein, hydrolyzed collagen, collagen pills, and collagen powder.

The benefits of taking collagen can include weight loss, relief from joint pain, strengthening your connective tissue, glowing skin, and assistance with several other health problems and beauty concerns.

Other Protein Powder Side Effects

Is a high protein diet bad for your kidneys??

Kidney issues may not be a huge concern with protein drinks, but if you overdo it on the protein supplements or whey protein, side effects that have nothing to do with your kidneys are possible. According to Harvard Health Publishing, eating too much protein may set you up for:

  • High cholesterol
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation and/or diarrhea

However, Harvard Health also notes that these effects may not be caused by the protein directly, but may be connected to eating the wrong types of protein, like a lot of processed meats, that are also higher in unhealthy fats and artificial ingredients.

Read more:5 Sketchy Things to Avoid in Your Protein Powder

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Apart From Affecting The Kidneys Unregulated Protein Intake Would Hamper The Body In Following Ways:

Upset Digestive System: Whey and Casein Proteins are milk-derived and hence are rich in lactose. Ones who are allergic to lactose would find it difficult to digest and suffer from abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, and flatulence.

Obesity: It might be surprising, but protein supplements can cause excess weight gain too. Remember that if your routine does not match your protein intake, the unutilized calories turn into fat. This fat when accumulated causes obesity.

Brittle bones: Protein can weaken your bones! Meat derived protein products are highly acidic. Consumption of these could trigger blood acidity levels. To combat blood acidity, the body releases calcium and phosphate. These alkaline substances come from the bones hence you lose bone mass when you go high on animal protein supplements, which renders the bones weak and brittle.

Disturbed Blood Sugar Levels: You might love your protein supplements, but do you know that they are brimming with additives and artificial sweeteners, which trigger blood sugar levels. Though whey, soy and casein protein is known to bring down the blood sugar levels, people suffering from diabetes or low blood pressure need to be extra cautious before consuming.

Severe Hair Loss: Hair is made up of a protein called Keratin. It does not make sense that you increase your protein intake and cut back on vitamins, fats, and carbohydrates. This might lead to heavy hair loss and balding.

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.


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How Does Protein Affect The Kidneys

Besides, some studies suggest that high-protein intake may lead to long-term side effects, affecting your kidneys. Although high-protein diets have not been studied extensively, a research on rats has shown that an increased amount of protein in their diets seems to affect the blood flow within their kidneys, leading to renal damage over time.

It May Cause Digestive Issues

Is a high protein diet bad for your kidneys??

Most of whey proteins side effects are related to digestion.

Some people have problems digesting whey protein and experience symptoms such as bloating, gas, stomach cramps and diarrhea .

But most of these side effects are related to lactose intolerance.

Lactose is the main carb in whey protein. People who are lactose intolerant dont produce enough of the enzyme lactase, which your body needs to digest lactose .

Moreover, lactose intolerance is incredibly common and can affect up to 75% of people worldwide .

If you are lactose intolerant, try switching to a whey protein isolate powder.

Whey protein isolate is more refined, with a significantly smaller amount of fat and lactose than whey protein concentrate. People with lactose intolerance can often safely take whey protein isolate .

Alternatively, try a non-dairy protein powder, such as soy, pea, egg, rice or hemp protein.

Summary: Whey protein may cause uncomfortable symptoms in people with lactose intolerance. If you experience uncomfortable symptoms, try switching to whey isolate powder or a non-dairy protein powder.

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High Protein Diet For Kidney Patients: Important Things To Know

Excess load of proteins on kidneys can cause damage and worsen the renal condition. Guidance from a nephrologist and a qualified nutritionist is of prime importance.

Intake of protein in kidney patients is typically decided by the doctor based on the severity of the disease, renal parameters, nutrition status and the patient’s weight. Because protein cannot be completely eliminated from the diet, it is very important to carefully plan the diet in compliance with the patient.

Also read: No, A High-Protein Diet Is Not Affecting Your Kidney

Ask her if protein-rich foods are harmful for kidney patients and she says that the quality and quantity of proteins – and not protein-rich foods per se – needs monitoring for kidney patients. “Proteins are one of the most essential nutrients that the body requires for growth and maintenance. Thus, it cannot be generalised that proteins are harmful for kidney patients. The source of protein and the quantity of proteins, depending on the patient’s severity of kidney damage, has to be taken into consideration. Accordingly, the diet for kidney patients has to be planned,” says Neha.

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 (

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