Kidney Disease and Gym Supplements: A Growing Concern

Over the last few decades, gym supplements have grown in popularity among fitness enthusiasts and sportspeople. These supplements are often advertised to improve athletic performance and increase muscle mass and overall health.

Recent studies have found a link between certain gym supplements and a higher risk of kidney disease. This is especially true for young adults. This blog will examine the growing concern about kidney disease and gym supplements.

Case Studies Reveal Dangerous Trend Among Young Adults

Recent years have seen a worrying trend in young adults presenting to Nephrologists for new-onset renal disease. Several case studies show the connection between excessive consumption of gym supplements and renal damage.

One of the case studies was about a 19-year-old student who collapsed at a South Delhi shopping mall after a seizure. The investigation revealed acute renal failure with no urine output. Urgent hemodialysis treatment was needed. A 28-year-old gym owner presented with high blood creatinine and urine protein leakage. He also had frothy, swollen legs.

A 17-year-old 11th-grade student presented with rapid weight loss of up to 120 kg, frothy urinary, acne, and kidney stone. Her creatinine level was 1.4 mg/dl. A 19-year-old medical student in Canada had echogenic kidneys found on ultrasound. Her creatinine was also 1.3mg/dl. This was due to her extreme calorie-counting behaviors and eating too much-boiled chicken or peanut butter.

In all these cases, the young adults consumed excessive amounts of gym supplements containing whey, caffeine, BCAAs, growth hormones, cough syrups, and other substances. Some also consumed alcohol and nicotine. One youngster took four pills/day of spasmoproxyvon and two bottles of cough medicine per week.

What are the harmful effects of gym supplements on kidneys?

Excessive consumption of supplements for exercise can be harmful to the kidneys.

  • Caffeine & Creatine: Caffeine & Creatine are commonly found in gym supplements. They increase endurance and allow for high-intensity exercises. These ingredients may increase heart rate and have an irreversible impact on blood tension.
  • Steroids: The use of steroids such as testosterone and done is to improve performance. They can cause kidney damage and have adverse effects.
  • Alcohol Abuse and Cough Syrup: Many young adults use alcohol and cough syrup in different combinations to relax. Alcohol can be helpful in this case. This can cause kidney damage and has damaging effects.
  • Diuretics: Many young adults use diuretics to reduce the puffiness caused by excessive steroid use or the carbohydrates present in duplicative formulations. It is used to induce extracellular dehydration to create a slimmer appearance. The use of diuretics may cause kidney damage.

These adults are more likely to develop kidney stones and gout due to high uric acid levels caused by excessive protein turnover.

It is essential to maintain a healthy diet and adequate hydration.

Healthy Eating Habits

A healthy and balanced diet is crucial to maintaining proper kidney function. World Health Organization recommends consuming approximately 1 mg/kg/day of protein. A high protein diet, an unbalanced diet, and insufficient hydration can lead to hyperfiltration injuries of the kidney filters. This can cause protein leakage, reduced filtering ability, and new kidney disease.


It is essential to maintain healthy kidney function. Insufficient water intake can lead to increased waste products in the blood, which may damage the kidneys. Low fluid intake can also cause urine to be more concentrated and lead to kidney stones. It is, therefore, important that young adults drink enough water to maintain their kidney health.


Rhabdomyolysis can be a medical condition caused by rapid muscle breakdown. This leads to muscle fibers being released into the bloodstream. This can lead to kidney tubular damage, which may result in new kidney disease. It is essential for young adults to avoid excessive muscle exertion and to adopt healthy dietary habits to prevent rhabdomyolysis-related kidney injury.

Understanding the Limits Between Use and Overuse

Fitness enthusiasts and athletes are increasingly using gym supplements. These supplements, marketed to improve athletic performance, increase muscle mass and improve general health, can harm the kidneys. This is especially true for young adults.

Excessive consumption of supplements that contain caffeine, creatine, and BCAA, as well as alcohol, nicotine, and cough syrups in various combinations, can increase the risks of kidney disease. Therefore, young adults are urged to understand the limits of use versus overuse, adopt healthy dietary habits with adequate hydration, and improve aerobic/cardiovascular fitness.