There are a few supplements used by some individuals who like to build muscle and improve endurance, but they need to be avoided or kept at a minimum for those with Kidney disease.  I would encourage even those with healthy kidneys to not use the last two I mention in extreme, because they can damage healthy kidneys too.

1) Arginine

Arginine has a number of benefits: helps relax arteries and improve blood flow, contributes to the synthesis of muscle growth, and improves strength.

However, if your body is in an inflammatory state and you have renal disease, supplementing with significant or frequent doses of arginine may promote oxidative stress.  Oxidative stress can damage the kidneys.  Here are some ways to reduce this risk:

  • Reduce the inflammation – this will also help to improve blood flow throughout your body.  You can reduce inflammation by avoiding processed foods, and supplementing with turmeric, fish oil, and consuming ginger, to name a few.  As a Naturopathic doctor, I use a wide variety of techniques to help my clients reduce inflammation.
  • Avoid or minimize arginine supplementation.
  • Instead of high amounts of isolated supplemental arginine, consume it through foods that contain it: peanuts, walnuts, coconut, brazil nuts, animal products (but if you have kidney disease, minimize animal consumption, as it can harm the kidneys).

2) Protein powders and regularly high protein meals

Some bodybuilders consume way too much protein for even healthy kidneys.  High amounts of protein can damage already compromised kidneys, and excess protein can be found on a urinalysis if someone has Kidney damage or Kidney disease.  Protein powders and regularly high protein also creates a more acidic environment in the body, which could lead to more formation of kidney stones.  Thus, it is better to moderate protein along with other macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc – often abundant in fresh fruits and vegetables) on your plate.

3) Testosterone

If there is a testosterone deficiency for your age and gender, testosterone supplementation may be beneficial and safe in appropriate amounts.  However, if the amount you take is too high and taken purely for bodybuilding in absence of testosterone deficiency, you may run the risk of kidney damage.  There are other ways to improve your testosterone without high dose injections:

  • Talk to your doctor to see if any of your medications lower testosterone.  Statins, which help lower cholesterol, is one medication type that can do this.
  • Boron is an element found in several types of minerals and it is mainly concentrated in our bones, spleen, and thyroid.  It improves the synthesis and helps decrease the breakdown of testosterone, supports muscle mass development, improves calcium absorption from gut, increases bone density (hence it’s common inclusion in products for osteoporosis), and decreases body fat.  Food sources include dried prunes, raisins, almonds, tomatoes, beans, and pears.  Those with a medical history or family history of breast cancer should be cautious with the use of boron, especially if it was hormone sensitive, as boron may support estrogen production.
  • Weight loss: excess fat may convert testosterone into estrogen.  Weight loss may reduce this conversion and help you maintain adequate testosterone levels
  • Lower your stress levels: high stress can reduce testosterone levels.  Take time off, get adequate sleep, avoid getting drained all the time, and do what helps reset your inner balance

If you would like to improve and preserve your kidney function, schedule an appointment by:

  • Clicking HERE
  • Calling 281-231-2811

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