Protein is essential to health, but too much can lead to waste buildup and kidney damage. Contrary to popular belief, high-protein diets do not increase your chances of kidney disease. But there are links between protein supplements and kidney function.
Researchers discovered that consistently exceeding recommended protein intake did not lead to renal damage by increasing glomerular pressure or hyperfiltration; rather, an increase in GFR response due to protein feeding is a natural adaptive mechanism.
Protein intake can help preserve muscle mass and keep energy levels up on a calorie-restricted diet, but those with preexisting kidney disease have been advised to limit their protein consumption due to concerns that too much could damage their kidneys.
The kidneys are remarkable organs, functioning to filter waste compounds, excess nutrients, and water out of our bloodstream to produce urine. Protein waste products like ammonia are one of the many metabolic waste products removed by kidney filtration; thus putting strain on this filtration process and leading to decreased kidney function over time. A high-protein diet may put additional pressure on this organ leading to decreased performance over time.
But recent research disproves this theory. A meta-analysis comprising 13 studies with over 13 hundred participants concluded that higher protein intake does not negatively impact kidney function in healthy individuals.
Studies involving both animal- and plant-derived proteins demonstrated consistent findings. Another research project which studied 27,604 adults with various degrees of kidney function over 11 years found no link between protein intake and loss in kidney function.
Kidneys, located just below your rib cage on either side of your spine, serve as key organs in cleansing blood and filtering excess fluid from the body. They help regulate blood pressure and red blood cell production and ensure you get adequate vitamin D for bone health. Kidney disease damages these important organs and leads to an accumulation of waste in your system that causes loss of appetite, nausea, weakness, and an unpleasant taste in the mouth – potentially even leading to death in severe cases. So, a negative link between protein supplements and kidney function should never be neglected.
An excessively high protein diet can put undue strain on your kidneys and hasten chronic kidney disease (CKD). When eating too much protein, glomeruli (small blood vessels in your kidneys) become damaged from filtering out nitrogenous waste from proteins in your blood into pee, leading to uremia – which in turn causes loss of appetite, nausea, and causes the urine to turn brown from excess protein and blood cells accumulating in urine.
People with preexisting kidney disease should refrain from taking supplements that contain protein. This includes animal-based proteins high in purines that break down into uric acid – this acid builds up in kidneys over time leading to stones or other health complications.
Plant-based eating has emerged as a top contender when it comes to improving health outcomes, according to numerous studies. Plant-based diets have been found to decrease risks such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers, and cognitive decline while helping manage weight.
Plant-based diets focus on eating more plant-derived food sources than animal sources, including legumes (like lentils), vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. While those who follow such a diet may choose between vegetarianism or veganism as the predominant lifestyle choice, it all begins with their food sources coming predominantly from plants.
Eating a plant-based diet requires careful consideration in order to ensure all necessary essential nutrients are met, but plant-based diets can provide many important health benefits. They contain high levels of proteins and amino acids as well as other vital vitamins and minerals such as iron, potassium, vitamin D, and omega-3; with the exception of Vitamin B12 which must be obtained through fortified foods or supplements.
Nephrology professionals working in nondialysis CKD settings or caring for dialysis patients should carefully consider the advantages of prescribing a plant-based diet as part of patient care. Nephrology practices should collaborate with dietitians in increasing referrals so as to facilitate the transition toward this lifestyle change for their patients.
No matter the purpose – bodybuilding or providing protein for children – adding protein powder as part of a daily regimen is common practice for many. Though this practice should not be considered negative, certain proteins could pose a potential danger.
Media claims of high-protein diets leading to kidney disease have generated much discussion within scientific circles with highlights between protein supplements and kidney function. Some researchers have concluded that consuming too much dietary protein above recommended amounts contributes to renal disease through increasing glomerular pressure and hyperfiltration, while others have shown it can simply be an adaptive response to physiological stimuli.
Protein powders come in all sorts of forms, from plant proteins like peas and hemp seeds to animal proteins such as milk, eggs, and fish. Whey protein is one of the most popular choices available to shoppers; you can often find it at local grocery stores unflavored or with flavor options such as vanilla chocolate strawberry.
When purchasing protein powder, look for one made from an animal source free from contaminants and allergens; examine its ingredient list for added sugars or low- or no-cal sweeteners; be mindful that some brands contain added vitamins and minerals while others advertise themselves as meal replacements.