I read on http://www.refinery29.com/2017/08/167981/bodybuilder-death-urea-cycle-disorder (mirror):

While protein supplements may not seem dangerous, Hefford's case is a reminder of how important it can be to check with your doctor before adding them into your routine. Of course, urea cycle disorder is uncommon, but excess supplements can be dangerous if someone already has health conditions they may not know about.

"There's medical advice on the back of all the supplements to seek out a doctor but how many young people actually do?" White told Yahoo 7 News.

What should I check before taking protein supplements?


1 Answer 1


Usually, protein supplements (e.g., whey protein) are used by athletes and body-builders.
Because isometric exercise like body-building increases the diastolic blood pressure in short-term 1, it is recommended to check for serum creatinine and Urea before supplementation (because it may accelerate renal function decline in people with mild renal insufficiency 2), along with check-ups every 6 months (it is my personal comment as a physician).
It is all because there are some researches stating that high amount of Urea due to the intake of protein supplement may promote kidney damage by chronically increasing the glomerular pressure and hyperfiltration 3 , 4 ,5.

Even recommended doses of creatine monohydrate supplementation may cause kidney damage; therefore, anybody using this supplement should be warned about this possible side effect, and their renal functions should be monitored regularly6.

Toxic hepatitis is another rare side effects of supplementation for body-builders, which warrants these check-ups 7.

However, it does not mean that high-protein intake necessarily damages the kidneys in all users 8.

Furthermore, interactions with other drugs should be noticed if the users have underlying diseases or they use other medications.

  • 1
    Welcome to Medical Sciences! You've already provided some good answers with supporting references, which we require here. Could you please edit this answer and add a supporting reference?
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 1:04
  • 3
    @CareyGregory Thank you so much for your kind words. I added some references. It is good to be noted that the prescription of protein supplements is still controversial and the evidence is not optimal.
    – maaniB
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 1:41

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