As one of the most essential and crucial organs in our body, the kidney is something we cannot live without. As a regulator of fluids and waste, it takes care of us by not allowing our bodies to accumulate too much excess scrap. Can you guess one substance your kidney filters out? Of course, protein! People who consume tons of protein, bodybuilders, athletes, lifters, work their kidneys a lot. Considering many of them take supplements, is there such a thing as protein powder kidney damage? Stay tuned for the answer, and more!
What Does Your Kidney Do?
I know I gave a bland definition of what kidneys do, but there’s much more to what your miracle beans can really do. No larger than your fists, your kidneys, yes, you have two, have the responsibility of keeping you alive by preventing a build-up of waste. The primary substance your kidneys filter is your blood. Every 24 hours, blood passes through your magic beans about 20 times. Not to mention, those little workers filter about 180 liters each day; or the same amount of liquid that a bathtub can fit.
Your blood isn’t just blood, as most people think. When you get a cut and begin to bleed from your skin’s surface, it looks like a red liquid and nothing else. In fact, it is a red liquid made up of proteins and tissues, but it is much more than that. Inside your blood, you can find an array of different substances. Some of these include tissues, water, blood cells, proteins, and, most importantly, nutrients. This collection of different things explains why blood is thicker than pure water. However, nutrients are vital for your blood to carry.
Think of your blood as the transportation system in your body. It carries nutrients, hormones, and all types of things to its destination within your body. When your organs have had enough nutrients for them to function, they will leave extras on the table. The excess nutrients and substances would build-up higher and higher if it wasn’t for your kidneys. Too much build-up leads to an overload for your organs to handle. Worst case scenario, this may cause death.
Excess Protein For Your Kidney
Liked mentioned before, protein is just one of the many compounds your kidney filters out of your blood. Once your muscles, tissues, and hormones get the necessary proteins they need, the rest of the protein stays in your blood. Depending on how much protein you consume, your kidneys will have to do more work to get it out of your blood. Bodybuilders, and people alike, who eat a lot of protein definitely work their kidneys more than the average person. Is this bad?
Turns out, high protein intakes do accelerate kidney damage; for damaged kidneys. Individuals that have kidneys that are ill or damaged will only further hinder the abilities of their kidneys when eating lots of protein. In the case of supplementation, protein powder kidney damage will most likely happen. If your kidneys are alive and well with no preexisting problems attached to them, they should easily control a high protein diet. Let alone a protein shake.
A study conducted by the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism investigated the effects of high protein diets and their impact on the body. Fourteen healthy males were tested over a year, put on a resistance training regimen along with the protein diet. After the year was up, the study concluded that there were no harmful effects done to any organs, including the liver and kidneys. All of these males continued on from the experiment with functioning livers despite the high protein diets.
What If My Kidneys Are Damaged?
You may be reading this and be in the percent that actually has gotten their kidneys damaged. There do exist many kidney-related diseases that are very common caused by other health-related issues, including high blood pressure and diabetes. However, if this is you, you must watch your protein intake with a keen eye. As you’ve read, too much-unfiltered blood can lead to a build-up of waste resulting in your death. This isn’t to say, however, that you must cut protein entirely out of your diet.
Individuals with kidney problems should look for foods high in albumin, one of the simplest forms of proteins. You can find albumin in foods that are high-quality proteins, including eggs, steak, fish, and chicken. If you prefer your foods vegan, the options of tofu and veggies sausages should make for easy consumption. These high quality and easily digestible proteins make it easier for your kidney to deal with. Even with the correct proteins, it is always important to talk to your doctor about your kidneys to see what is right for them. If you’d like a longer list of proteins that are of high quality, click on this article I wrote where I listed out tons of them.
Also worth mentioning, your body comes with two kidneys already built-in when you’re born. This is nice, think of one kidney as a back up in case something happens to one kidney. Even though they do work together in conjunction, one by itself is more than capable of taking care of your entire body by filtering out waste. People who’ve had their kidney removed or were born with just a single one go-on to live healthy lives just like those with a pair of magic beans.
In conclusion, is protein powder kidney damage a thing? Yes, for the population with pre-damaged kidneys. If you’re a blessed, healthy individual, you will find no harm done whenever you chug down your favorite protein shake. Your two, or even just one, kidneys, will have a field day filtering out all the excess protein from your blood and excreting out of your body. If you do have problems in your kidneys, try taking a step back from protein supplements and ask your doctor for what the appropriate next step is. Heck, the next step forward may be to take a protein shake, but you should always ask first. Better to be safe than sorry.
Got any questions about your kidney? Leave them down below, along with any comments you feel like sharing.