Protein, not good for the kidneys?

Many myths and rumors surround protein intake in the form of dietary supplements, such as whey protein. Among them are the idea that taking protein powder would pose a danger to the kidneys. However, some sedentary people consume kilos of meats.

eat every day and, in their case, no one says anything while they ingest a lot of protein. Is there a difference? Are protein powder really bad for the kidneys?

The myth of proteins and kidneys

If you browse the internet, you can find anything and everything about the dangerousness of proteins for the kidneys. In some articles, you will be told that the proteins that pass through the blood are filtered by the kidneys and that, being large molecules, they damage this organ if they cross it in too great quantity. You will probably also be told that when the proteins are degraded, it produces creatinine, and that waste is eliminated by the kidneys and eventually fatigued.
In fact, this kind of article simply extends the myth, even though it contains many errors.

The errors of this theory

When the proteins are digested, they are cut into smaller parts called amino acids. They may also be peptides, that is to say, an assembly of several amino acids. It can thus be noted that the proteins never pass as they are in the blood. These are the amino acids, much smaller elements, which cross the intestinal wall and end up in the bloodstream. You will understand that it is silly enough to think that, because proteins are large molecules, they damage the kidneys.

Then, the myth about proteins often focuses on creatinine produced by the body. But it produces it when the muscles are activated. The more active one is, the more creatinine is produced; The more muscles, the more creatinine is produced. An athlete, therefore, manufactures much more than other people. Is this as dangerous? No. In reality, many people confuse creatinine and danger to the kidneys because the creatinine level is one of the markers used to know the health of the kidneys.
Now, it’s only a marker. If you have too much creatinine in the blood, it may mean that your kidneys are going badly because they can not do the filtration work properly, so creatinine stagnates in the blood. But it is not creatinine that causes this. Also, athletes frequently have a higher than normal creatinine level, but this is not a concern.
Studies have already proved this. Athletes have more creatinine in the blood than sedentary people, but their protein intake is different.

Proteins, safe for the kidneys?

As you can see, the myth is unfounded. Powdered proteins do not deserve the bad reputation they have been made.
However, it is necessary to put a flap to all this. If the consumption of proteins does not present a health hazard to a healthy individual, this is not necessarily true for a person who is sick from the kidneys. Indeed, in this specific case, the kidneys may have trouble working, and an overdose of proteins could be harmful. This is a topic you should discuss with your doctor if you have sick kidneys.
No other danger?
Even if consuming more protein than a normal person is safe for the kidneys, it should nevertheless be stressed that this increases the acidity in the body. The acid-base balance of your body is important. If it is too acid all the time, the body is obliged to compensate by tapping into its reserves of minerals, like the bones. This can lead to pathologies in the long term.

To avoid this, it is necessary to consume a lot of plants that generally have a basifying effect and can, therefore, fight acidity.


There are still many myths about the athlete’s diet. The one on proteins and kidneys is tenacious. As you may have seen, for a healthy person, eating protein in quantity does not pose a problem for the kidneys. Moreover, this should not pose any health problems, in general, if this person compensates by eating enough vegetables.