Which protein powder is safe for kidneys?

Wondering which protein powder is safe for kidneys? In this article, I will cover the best types of protein for kidneys, and the top ingredients to avoid if you have impaired kidney function.

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drink wholesome is the best protein powder for kidneys.

Written by Jack Schrupp & endorsed by Baylee Reller, RDN

Is protein powder bad for your kidneys?

Eating enough protein is essential for staying strong and healthy. Consuming too much protein can harm the kidneys, however. When we eat protein, it breaks down into amino acids, which are used by the body to build and repair muscle tissue. Extra amino acids that are not needed are excreted by the kidneys.

A high-protein diet can make the kidneys work harder to get rid of these extra amino acids, potentially causing kidney damage over time. It can also increase levels of urea – a waste product of protein metabolism – in the blood. Research shows that high levels of urea and other nitrogenous waste products can harm the kidneys and increase the risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD), especially in individuals with impaired kidney function. Individuals with kidney issues should therefore be cautious about their protein intake.

For people with kidney disease, it is important to use protein supplements sparingly. You only need a protein supplement if you are not meeting your daily protein requirements. The recommended protein intake for non-dialysis patients is 0.6 to 0.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day with > 50% HBV proteins. HBV stands for high biologic value, and refers to protein sources such as eggs, fish, poultry, meat and dairy. For patients on dialysis, the recommended daily protein intake ranges from 1.0 to 1.2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight.

Is plant protein powder bad for kidneys? 

According to guidelines for kidney patients, at least half of your protein should come from animal protein sources. The other half can come from plant sources. Eating plant protein can actually help reduce the workload of your kidneys and reduce the risk of chronic kidney disease.


Can protein powder cause kidney stones?

Research has shown that high protein diets, specifically diets high in animal protein, can increase the risk of developing kidney stones. Animal proteins have been shown to increase urinary excretion of oxalate, a compound that combines with calcium and other compounds to form kidney stones. Some animal-based proteins are also high in purines, which are broken down into uric acid. High levels of uric acid can lead to the formation of kidney stones. 

People at risk of developing kidney stones should therefore use protein powder in moderation, and prioritize plant-based protein sources. Protein supplements are a convenient way to boost your protein intake, but you can overdo it. The best protein powder for kidney stones is probably rice or hemp protein, but honestly, any protein source will do as long as it does not cause you to exceed your recommended daily protein intake.

Which protein powder is safe for kidneys?

Egg white protein is an excellent source of complete protein for people with kidney issues, especially those on dialysis. Dialysis patients need lots of protein, but have to watch their phosphorus intake. Egg whites are low in phosphorus, containing only 5mg per egg white, and can help reduce phosphorus levels in the blood. Plus, they are safe for those with kidney problems; epidemiological studies never linked egg consumption to an increased risk of developing kidney disease.

Not all egg white protein powders are the same, however. Some contain artificial and heavily processed ingredients that can lead to unpleasant side effects and long-term gut problems. The latter is especially concerning for kidney patients because recent research shows that gut health plays a crucial role in kidney disease. Changes in the gut microbiome – the community of microorganisms in your gut – contribute to the progression of CKD.

To prioritize your gut health, which is linked to the progression of chronic kidney disease, it is important to choose a protein powder with a short list of simple ingredients. Avoid products with emulsifiers, thickeners, flavorings, and most sugar substitutes. Keep reading to learn more.


Why drink wholesome

drink wholesome is additive-free.

One of the reasons why we make the best kidney-friendly protein powder is that we do not use food additives, period. Even in tiny amounts, ingredients like these can cause painful side effects, especially if you have pre-existing gut issues.

Here is a list of the most common food additives in protein powder:

acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, aspartame, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dextrose, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, “natural” flavors, maltodextrin, rice syrup solids, soy lecithin, silica, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum, xylitol

Food additives are so dissimilar to real foods that they are hard to digest. This means they linger in your gut, giving gut bacteria extra time to eat. When bacteria chow down, they release gas, which can cause bloating, gas, and stomach pain. Gas can also slow the passage of food through your colon, leading to constipation.

In some cases, these partially digested additives can make your colon absorb too much water. This can result in osmotic diarrhea, possibly explaining why protein shakes send you rushing to the bathroom.

Regularly consuming food additives can disturb regulatory pathways in your intestines, leading to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other chronic inflammatory problems. Additives, especially artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, can also alter the composition of your gut microbiome. These changes, as you just discovered, can negatively impact your kidney health.

the alternative:

Protein Matrix Comprised of (Whey Protein Concentrate,  Whey Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein, Milk Protein Isolate, Egg Albumen, Glutamine Peptides), Polydextrose, Sunflower Creamer (Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup Solids,  Sodium Caseinate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Tocopherols), Natural and Artificial Flavor, MCT Powder (Medium Chain Triglycerides, Nonfat Dry Milk, Disodium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide), Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Yellow 5, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Papain, Bromelain

drink wholesome is dairy-free.

Another reason why we make the best kidney-friendly protein powder is that we do not use dairy-based proteins like whey and casein. These proteins contain lactose, which is the sugar in dairy. Lactose is known for causing discomfort, particularly for those with lactose intolerance. Most adults have some level of lactose intolerance, which means they lack the enzymes needed to fully digest lactose. As you now know, the incomplete digestion of food is one of the top reasons why people feel bloated and sick to their stomach.

drink wholesome is made with real foods.

A final reason why we make the best kidney-friendly protein powder is that we do not use protein concentrates or isolates. Basically all other protein powders are made from these protein sources, where everything except the protein is stripped away. They undergo lots of processing, often using solvents like hexane.

Your digestive system is designed to handle natural, unprocessed foods, not heavily-processed protein concentrates or isolates. It follows that research shows regularly consuming refined ingredients like these can change the makeup of your gut microbiome. Again, having an altered gut microbiome is not ideal, especially if you are worried about your kidney health. 

Instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best kidney-friendly protein powder with egg whites. Egg whites are simply pasteurized and dried, making them a gut-healthy alternative to protein concentrates and isolates. 

Unlike protein isolates and concentrates, egg whites contain enzymes that help you break them down. Egg whites are also low in fiber, low FODMAP, alkaline (maintaining healthy pH levels in your gut), and bioactive (promoting the growth of good gut bacteria). Our happy customers have reported fewer gut issues with our egg white protein powder than with any other type of protein powder. In summary, our egg white protein powders, because they are low in purines, low in phosphorous, and good for your gut, are safe for your kidneys. 


simple and delicious

“I genuinely love this product. It’s the only protein powder I take. In todays day and age so many additives in ingredients mess with our endocrine system, mess with our stomachs, and aren’t good for us long term. This powder is awesome, clean, simple, and tasty.” – Nitasha

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This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. drink wholesome is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.