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Kidney Diseases

Can a Kidney Donor Take Bodybuilding Supplements?

08/06/2009

Question:

I am a 20 year old male, very healthy, very fit. I am going to be donating my kidney. I have already taken all the tests, and now I`m just waiting for the surgery date.

Here is the problem: I would like to take bodybuilding supplement after the surgery, but the physician said this was not a good idea. I am looking for additional information. The supplements I want to take are: L-Glutamine, Nitric Oxide, and maybe Creatine. Would taking these cause damage to my single kidney? What about plain protein supplements?

Answer:

Following donation of a kidney, the remaining kidney compensates for the loss of the other kidney, in part by a process of "hyperfiltration" in which each individual filtering unit of the kidney filters blood at a higher rate than normal. In animal models, a high protein diet administered under such conditions causes further hyperfiltration that may damage those filtering units. Although this phenomenon has never been proven in humans, it forms the basis for recommending against high protein diet or protein supplements after living donor nephrectomy.

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Response by:

Donald E Hricik, MD Donald E Hricik, MD
Professor of Medicine
Chief of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University