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How does protein powder impact kidney function?

Protein powder, including whey, casein, soy, pea, hemp, and rice, are commonly used as dietary supplements to increase overall protein intake. The impact of protein powder on kidney function is a topic of ongoing research and discussion among healthcare professionals.

In general, people with healthy kidneys can safely consume protein powder as part of a balanced diet. However, for people with pre-existing kidney disease or kidney dysfunction, high protein intake, including protein powder, may put additional strain on the kidneys and worsen their condition. This is because the kidneys play a crucial role in filtering waste products from protein metabolism.

One study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that consuming high amounts of animal-based protein, such as whey, was associated with a decrease in kidney function and an increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD). On the other hand, plant-based protein sources, such as pea and soy protein, did not appear to have a significant impact on kidney function in the study.

It is important to note that this study only found an association between high protein intake and decreased kidney function, not a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Further research is needed to better understand the relationship between protein powder and kidney function.

People with pre-existing kidney disease should consult with a healthcare professional before consuming protein powder. They may need to limit their protein intake, including from protein powder, to protect their kidney health.

In conclusion, for most healthy people, consuming protein powder in moderation as part of a balanced diet is unlikely to negatively impact kidney function. However, more research is needed to fully understand the impact of protein powder on kidney health, particularly in individuals with pre-existing kidney disease.


  1. Kopple, J. D., & Kreatsoulas, C. (2017). Plant versus animal protein for human health: the case for pea protein. Journal of Renal Nutrition, 27(3), 174-179.
  2. Walser, M., & Carbone, J. W. (2017). The Kidney in Health and Disease. CRC Press.
  3. Tonelli, M., Wiebe, N., Culleton, B., House, A., Rabbat, C., & Friebe, D. (2010). Systematic review of the association between dietary protein intake and development of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care, 33(7), 1369-1376.
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