Every weightlifter has heard the claim that whey protein causes kidney stones. Is this really true, or is this simply bro-science? To begin, you must first comprehend what whey protein is. Scientists classify whey proteins as first-class proteins because they include 70-90 percent protein and all necessary amino acids. Protein synthesis is aided by these. They function similarly to conventional proteins, but more effectively and quickly.
What Are The Types Of Kidney Stones?
A kidney stone is a solid mass that can pass through the kidneys but isn’t meant to. It usually indicates that there isn’t enough fluids or that your body isn’t properly using the solids (think absorbing minerals like calcium). The stone, on the other hand, can be constructed of a number of materials and in a range of combinations.
In general, there are 4 main types of kidney stones:
- Calcium stones ” This is the most common form by far. Calcium and oxalate are commonly found in them (more on this later).
- Struvite stones – It form as a result of an infection and develop quickly and huge.
- Uric acid stones – They are most commonly caused by purines in a high-protein diet or dehydration. Genetic factors can also have an impact.
- Cystine stones ” Caused by genetic disorders, but not very common. We’re especially concerned about calcium stones (specifically calcium-oxalate stones) and uric acid stones when it comes to vegan protein powder and kidney stones.
Does Whey Protein Causes Kidney Stones?
Let’s face it, if whey protein was the cause of kidney stones, stone treatment facilities would see an inflow of bodybuilder patients. That is not the case at all. The argument is simple: if you already have damaged kidneys, which most people aren’t aware of, then eating too much protein will kill you. This is why supplement companies advise customers to seek medical advice before using any supplements. So, rather than the supplement, it’s your existing condition that’s causing the issue!
Our bodies are capable of distinguishing between macro and micronutrients. Protein is processed the same manner, whether it comes from supplements or diet. In fact, protein is required by human bodies more than any other macronutrient. It aids in the regulation of metabolism, the maintenance of body systems, the strengthening of the immune system, and the formation of blood cells. If you exercise frequently, you’ll need more protein to repair damaged areas and maintain muscular mass. Whey protein supplementation not only compensates for protein deficit, but it also meets the acute protein need following an exercise.
Is Whey Protein Linked To An Increase In Uric Acid?
This is another another common misunderstanding that most people have. True, the end result of protein is urea, which affects the degree of uric acid. However, there is no conclusive evidence that whey protein causes an increase in uric acid levels. Red meat and leafy vegetables are the only protein sources you should avoid if you have an excessive amount of uric acid since they contain purine, a chemical that causes uric acid development.
Is Protein Powder Difficult For The Kidneys?
In healthy adults, there is no evidence that eating too much protein may harm their kidneys. People with a renal issue, on the other hand, should see their doctor to see if whey protein is good for them.
What Causes Kidney Stones?
There are various distinct causes for different forms of kidney stones, including:
- Other medical problems
We’re simply concerned with one aspect here: nutrition.
Then we can break it down even more, because there are six major dietary factors that might influence the production of kidney stones:
- Protein intake
- Oxalate intake
- Extreme diets
Most of those don’t apply when it comes to protein powder. Extreme diets, hydration, calcium, and sodium are all independent issues.
How Does Protein Intake Affect Kidney Stone Formation?
We do know, however, that a high-protein diet raises the incidence of kidney stones.
Many other research with identical findings have been conducted. Subjects (who are normally passive) frequently increase their protein consumption by 100% (e.g., from 90 to 180 grams per day) while decreasing their carbohydrate intake. It may or may not apply to athletes, but it is a cause for concern.
Why Does A High-Protein Diet Make You More Likely To Develop Kidney Stones?
The findings hint to a high acid-base burden. Animal proteins are mostly made up of amino acids that are broken down into acids afterwards, whereas plant proteins are broken down into bases (the opposite of acidic). Urinary uric acid kidney stones require a high uric acid content as well as acidic urine to develop.
Not only are acidic circumstances necessary for the production of kidney stones, but a high acid load is difficult for the kidneys to tolerate, thereby impairing their function.
Can Drinking Too Many Protein Shakes Cause Kidney Stones?
Even if you consume a lot of protein, you could still have kidney stones (the research on plant proteins isn’t clear). However, you’re probably at a lesser risk than if you were using whey protein supplements.
You won’t have an elevated risk of kidney stone development if you eat a sufficient quantity of protein either way.
How Does Oxalate Intake Affect Kidney Stones?
Oxalate may be found in a variety of foods. Calcium-oxalate kidney stones also include it. When a kidney has too much oxalate along with other factors (such as a lack of fluid), calcium stones can develop.
Calcium absorption can also be hampered by oxalate. This is one of the main reasons why vegan protein supplements are typically viewed with suspicion.
Why? Because oxalate levels in certain plant meals are really high. To mention a few, spinach, beets, and sweet potatoes.
Is Oxalate Consumption A Major Concern For Vegans?
According to a Harvard School of Public Health study, persons who ate plant-based diets had a decreased risk of kidney stone development than those who did not.
You’re not at a higher risk of kidney stone development unless your total oxalate consumption is greater than 300mg and you have an adequate calcium intake, according to study. However, doctors normally advise patients with a history of kidney stones to strive for a lesser quantity (usually 50 to 100mg max).
As long as you’re not eating many (literally) servings per day, you’re probably not getting that from vegan protein powder alone.
What Supplements Can Cause Kidney Stones?
Vitamin C supplementation should be avoided. Supplementing with vitamin C (ascorbic acid) can lead to kidney stones, especially in males. Men who used large amounts of vitamin C supplements increased their chance of developing a kidney stone, according to a 2013 research. Vitamin C from food, according to researchers, does not pose the same risk.