Exercise-induced proteinuria in well-trained athletes

Clin Chem. 1990 Mar;36(3):562-4.


We studied the rate of urinary excretion of albumin, alpha 1-microglobulin (as an indicator of the renal tubular involvement), sodium, potassium, and creatinine in the basal state (overnight urine collection) and after physical exercise (training session) in 10 professional cyclists, to verify whether protein excretion is increased even in well-trained athletes after physical effort. In addition, we wanted to understand whether the origin of exercise-induced proteinuria was glomerular, tubular, or both. Compared with the basal state (overnight collection), exercise significantly (P less than 0.01) increased the excretion rate of albumin (4.2 +/- 2.6 micrograms/min vs 18.1 +/- 10.6 micrograms/min, mean +/- SD), Na, and K, and also the urinary volume. Creatinine output was not affected by exercise. The mean (+/- SD) overnight excretion rate of albumin by athletes was quite similar to that found for 91 healthy nonathletes at rest (4.6 +/- 2.7 micrograms/min). The mean exercise-related excretion of alpha 1-microglobulin by the athletes significantly exceeded the overnight value (6.6 vs 0.3 mg/L, P = 0.037). Our study indicates that (a) albuminuria furnishes the greater contribution to the increase in exercise-induced proteinuria; (b) the exercise proteinuria is both glomerular and tubular in origin, and is reversible; (c) the enhanced protein requirement of athletes may in part be due to the recurrent excretion of proteins in the urine after physical effort.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alpha-Globulins / urine
  • Bicycling
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Potassium / urine
  • Proteinuria / urine*
  • Sodium / urine


  • Alpha-Globulins
  • alpha-1-microglobulin
  • Sodium
  • Creatinine
  • Potassium