[Protein supplement consumption and its possible association with kidney damage in Mexican elite athletes]

Rev Med Inst Mex Seguro Soc. 2016 Jan-Feb;54(1):42-7.
[Article in Spanish]


Background: Protein supplements are one of the most used ergogenic supplements by elite athletes. Nonetheless, it has been postulated that the use of these type of supplements may cause chronic renal failure. The objective of this study is to analyze the effects of the consumption of protein supplements in the renal function of elite athletes of the Mexican Olympic Training Center.

Methods: 74 athletes provided urine samples in order to quantify urinary proteins. Some of them were excluded since they had conditions that could cause proteinuria or alter the quality of the samples. Those that were not excluded were divided into two groups: the experimental group, which included those individuals that had the antecedent of consuming protein supplements, and the control group, that encompassed those individuals that did not had the antecedent of consuming protein supplements.

Results: Of the 74 analyzed athletes, 44 were excluded, 11 individuals were included in the experimental group, and 19 in the control group. Microproteinuria was encountered in only one urine sample (control group), and it was determined that there was no significant differences between both groups.

Conclusion: From the gathered results it can be concluded that protein supplements do not affect renal function. Nonetheless, in the future protein supplements should be evaluated in groups with pathologies or conditions that may compromise renal function.

Introducción: los suplementos proteicos son unos de los suplementos ergogénicos más utilizados por los atletas de alto rendimiento. Sin embargo, se ha postulado que el consumo de estos pudiese ser causa de insuficiencia renal crónica. El objetivo fue analizar los efectos del consumo de suplementos proteínicos en la función renal de los atletas de alto rendimiento del Centro Deportivo Olímpico Mexicano. Métodos: se evaluaron 74 atletas, en cuya muestra de orina se cuantificaron las proteínas. Se excluyeron los atletas con antecedentes o condiciones que pudiesen causar proteinuria o que pudieran alterar la calidad de la muestra. Los elegidos se dividieron en dos grupos con base en el antecedente de consumo de suplemento proteico: el grupo experimental lo conformaron los consumidores y el control los no consumidores. Resultados: de 74 atletas analizados, 44 fueron excluidos, 11 se incluyeron al grupo experimental y 19 al grupo control. Se obtuvo un resultado positivo para microproteinuria en este último grupo. Se determinó estadísticamente que ambos grupos eran similares y se estableció, en relación con el resultado positivo de microproteinura, que no existe una diferencia significativa entre ambos grupos. Conclusión: el consumo de suplemento proteico no ha afectado la función renal de los atletas analizados. Pese a esto, consideramos que la seguridad del suplemento proteico debe ser evaluada en un futuro en ciertos grupos con patologías o antecedentes que pudieran comprometer la función renal.

Keywords: Adverse effects; Protein supplements; Proteinuria; Renal insufficiency.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletes*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Proteins / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Supplements / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mexico
  • Performance-Enhancing Substances / adverse effects*
  • Proteinuria / diagnosis
  • Proteinuria / etiology*
  • Renal Insufficiency / diagnosis
  • Renal Insufficiency / etiology*
  • Renal Insufficiency / urine
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Performance-Enhancing Substances