Anyone looking to consume a high protein diet – especially one containing supplements in the form of a protein powder – will be cautious of the negative impacts it can have as sometimes when dieting, the downsides can end up outweighing the potential benefit…
Like all protein powders, pea protein has some notable side effects if used incorrectly and there’s debate around if pea protein powder is bad for your kidneys.
In people with healthy kidneys, pea protein shouldn’t cause kidney problems if it’s used properly.
In people with existing kidney problems, a higher protein diet isn’t recommended as it can worsen kidney problems.
This is because a higher protein diet places extra strain on the kidneys, which can cause additional damage if people have kidney issues already.
As I’ll go on to discuss, there is also debate around whether pea protein affects your liver.
From this article, you’ll learn:
- If pea protein powder is bad for your kidneys
- If pea protein powder is bad for your liver
- If you should take pea protein if you have existing kidney or liver problems
What Is Pea Protein Powder
Pea protein powder is made from yellow peas. It has become popular in recent years as an alternative to milk and egg based protein powders.
Pea protein powder is high in protein, packing around 15 grams of protein per 2 scoops. This makes it ideal for those looking to boost their protein intake while following a vegetarian/vegan based diet.
^^ It’s not just for those on a plant-based diet but hitting a protein target is much harder on a plant-based diet than one that is animal-based.
Is Pea Protein Powder Bad for Your Kidneys?
High protein diets aren’t recommended for people who have existing kidney problems, as they can place extra strain on the kidneys.
For people without kidney problems, protein supplements, such as pea protein powder, should be ok as long as they’re taken properly.
Pea protein powder, like other protein powders, adds more protein to your diet. Diets that are high in protein aren’t recommended for people with existing kidney problems.
The kidneys act as a filtering system for the body. These two organs are responsible for cleaning toxins from the blood, and converting the waste into urine.
Higher levels of protein can cause the kidneys to work harder, as they need to filter more protein from your blood. This can put extra strain on them which is potentially harmful for those who have existing kidney issues.
As a result, protein supplements from any kind of protein powder can cause problems for those with kidney issues.
Pea protein is also a source of purines. Purines are a chemical found naturally in many foods.
Once ingested, the body converts purines into uric acid. Uric acid is naturally occuring and in regular levels it is harmless.
However, higher amounts of uric acid can place strain on the kidneys, leading to a buildup of uric acid.
This kind of build up can cause health issues, such as gout (also known as arthritis). This is a very painful condition that causes inflammation in people’s joints.
Therefore, pea protein powder may not be suitable for those with gout, as it can have a negative impact on this condition.
If you have existing kidney problems, or are worried about the potential effect of pea protein on your kidneys, it’s best to consult a medical professional for further guidance.
If you don’t have existing kidney problems, then pea protein powder should be ok to use.
For people with healthy kidneys, research suggests that a diet that is high in protein shouldn’t cause kidney problems – though more research is needed on the effect of protein powder on kidneys.
Whilst pea protein should be ok to use, it’s important to follow recommended guidance on the amount to take, and how often to take it.
Taking too much pea protein, or taking it too often, can potentially cause serious health problems.
Is Pea Protein Powder Bad for Your Liver?
A high protein diet can also influence the liver. As with the kidneys, the liver is a vital organ. It helps to process blood, metabolize toxins, and plays a key role in supporting normal digestion.
Protein helps to support the liver – it plays an important role in repairing tissue damage, and in maintaining healthy liver function.
However, for people with existing liver problems, a diet that’s high in protein can create extra work for the liver.
This can cause existing problems to get worse, as it places more strain on the liver to process extra protein.
For that reason, it’s recommended that people with existing liver problems speak with a doctor or healthcare professional before making dietary changes or beginning a supplement like pea protein powder which is going to increase protein intake.
In people with a healthy liver, pea protein powder shouldn’t be bad for your liver. However, as with the influence of pea protein on the kidneys, more research is needed to understand its effect.
Whilst pea protein powder should be ok for those without existing kidney or liver problems, it’s important to use it properly.
Using protein powder improperly, such as taking higher doses or taking it more often than is recommended, will increase the risk of side effects and negative health effects like liver and kidney issues.
Like most supplements, caution should be taken when using them and you should first seek advice from your medical practitioner before taking any new supplements.
While pea protein powder isn’t bad for your kidneys – or any worse/better than any other type of protein powder – it can cause issues if you have any underlying or pre-existing kidney issues.
If you’re interested in knowing more about different kinds of protein powder, check out this video:
Therefore, if you don’t have any existing issues then pea protein can be a good option to use as a protein powder, especially considering it doesn’t contain any ingredients like lactose that are known to cause other issues like digestion.
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