High Protein Diet for Kidney Failure
Kidney failure is a serious medical condition in which the kidneys no longer are able to perform their job of cleaning the blood and making urine from the waste products.
Though there are many reasons for kidney failure, the end result is the same: The kidneys progressively become less able to perform normally and eventually stop working altogether. High-protein diets are not considered a risk in healthy adults but are dangerous for individuals with liver and kidney complications because of the body’s inability to remove the waste products from the metabolism of protein.
How High-Protein Intake Affects Kidneys
The intake of protein is essential for normal body function, and the recommended dietary allowance of protein is not harmful. The body, however, has no mechanism to store any excess protein.
Digestion and metabolism breaks down protein into the building blocks of protein or amino acids. The body uses these to make other proteins and enzymes, however, any excess amino acids are devoid of nitrogen and are used either to produce energy or are converted to fat. Although the leftover nitrogen eventually is expelled by the liver and kidneys, it potentially can harm the kidneys in the form of kidney stones and osteoporosis. (Reference 2).
The connection between high-protein diets and serious kidney problems is supported by 30 years of research that has proven the consumption of a high-protein diet over a prolonged period of time greatly increases the chances of bone loss and kidney failure. (Reference 3). High-protein diets place kidneys under great stress and cause them to age more quickly.
This damage might not reveal itself in a blood test for many years. By the time it is finally detected, the damage often is irreversible. Few of the blood tests for monitoring kidney function detect problems until the kidneys are 90 percent damaged.
By the time Americans reach their 80s, they have lost an estimated 30 percent of kidney function. Nowadays, it is common for kidney problems to develop in younger adults under the stress of high-protein diets. This is the reason why low-protein diets are used in the treatment of patients suffering from liver or kidney failure. According to a multitrial evaluation, the reduction of protein in individuals with kidney disease lowered the chances for kidney-related death by about 40 percent. (Reference 4)