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How Does Excess Protein Harm Health?

by | May 14, 2021 | Foods | 0 comments

Is the excess protein in the diet harmful?

I will talk primarily about animal protein, which is:

  • meat
  • fish
  • poultry
  • egg white
  • sports supplements.

Despite all the benefits of protein, its excess can be harmful.

two directions of this are well studied:

  • the effect of protein on the bone system
  • and the kidneys.

Less studied is the effect of protein on:

  • liver
  • cardiovascular system the
  • the ability of the protein to provoke certain types of cancer.

The harm of protein to bones

Protein absorbs into amino acids and is divides in the gastrointestinal tract by enzymes. And amino acids cause a decrease in the pH of the blood at the beginning. That is, they acidify our blood. But the body copes with this very quickly. The blood’s acidity lies in a minimal range from 7.35 to 8.45 pH in a healthy person.

Three systems help us do this.

The first system of instant response is the buffer system of the blood.

in particular, it includes:

  • hemoglobin blood
  • proteins
  • bone system

How does this work?

The excess acids are immediately bound by neutralizing chemicals. And this happens literally within 30 seconds. It takes a few minutes for the respiratory system to start working.

That is, if we continue to acidify, the buffer systems of the blood do not work. Then we start to breathe faster by removing carbon dioxide and, accordingly, our blood acidity drops.

And finally, within ten to twenty hours, the remaining acids are removed from the kidneys. Accordingly, the first thing that meets the acid is our buffer system. As I said before, one of them is the bone system.

With an increase in the concentration of hydrogen ions in the blood, this always happens when the blood is slightly acidified. These hydrogen ions enter the bone and are exchanged in the bone. The bone absorbs hydrogen ions and releases calcium and sodium into the blood.

At the same time, you know, calcium is washed out of the bones.

Many studies show that chronic abuse of large amounts of protein leads to a decrease in bone density and increases the number of fractures of the radius in women.

Well, in general, this applies more to older people who have reserves of bone mineralization melting, who develop age-related osteoporosis.

Therefore, for them, excessive consumption of protein is associated with the development of bone fragility.

The harm of excess protein to the kidneys

The second effect of excess protein on the kidneys results from its impact on the bones. The fact is that the calcium that has come out of the bones must be put somewhere.

And where to put it?

It should be excreted in the urine. At the same time, more calcium enters the urine. But not only do the kidneys begin to secrete more calcium, but they also eventually compensate for the disturbing acidity that protein brings.

And accordingly, the acidity of the urine increases, and, accordingly, its pH decreases. here are these two factors:

  • a decrease in the pH of the urine an
  • increase in the concentration of calcium

It leads to the fact that the ability of stone formation increases. The amount of uric acid salts begins to grow in an acidic environment, which does not dissolve and can fall into crystals. Even if the person does not have gout and uric acid in the blood is normal.

However, a decrease in the pH of the urine leads to the formation of so-called urate stones. An increase in the amount of calcium in the urine can lead to the formation of calcium oxalates, which give rise to other oxalate stones.

The harm of excess protein on the liver

The next action of the protein on the liver, As I said, is little researched. It is believed that the consumption of large amounts of protein leads to an increase in the level of albumin in the blood.

Albumin is a type of protein. And large amounts of albumin damage the liver. At the same time, there is an increase in the liver enzyme called alanine aminotransferase or alt.

Alt indicates the destruction of liver cells. Therefore, potentially consuming large amounts of protein can be dangerous for the liver.

But there is little research in this area, and so far, we can not say one hundred percent that a large amount of protein in a healthy person damages the liver.

The effect of excess protein on blood vessels is similar to

the effect on the cardiovascular system. not numerous studies have found an association with the use of large amounts of protein and the occurrence of atherosclerotic vascular lesions.

But here, it is impossible to say for sure whether this is simply due to the use of protein in its pure form. Or this is due to the use of animal proteins in the composition of meat (which itself may also contain saturated fats).

Therefore, in general, the effect on the cardiovascular system of excess protein is not certain.

Excess protein and cancer

And finally, the ability of the protein to provoke some types of cancers.

Here, too, everything is not clear about pure protein; no pathogenetic mechanisms would cause cancer formation.

Instead, it refers to the protein that is part of processed meat products such as ham, sausages, and various other processed meat products.

Here it is proven that it can cause cancer.

But so pure protein by itself is not yet enough information to claim that it is harmful.

How to get enough protein and avoid danger

And what to do with all this, you ask?

On the one hand, it seems that there is really a need to increase their protein intake for some people, but there are also negative effects.

First: don’t chase too much protein. Still, the optimal intake is 1/1. 2 grams of protein per day.

Second: if you still consume a large amount of protein, you need it to build muscle. Do this not all the time, not all your life, at least in short courses when you train intensively.

Third: combine plant and animal proteins. And make sure that you have enough vegetables in your diet.

The fact is that vegetable proteins are absorbed more slowly. They correspondingly give less and peak changes in the acidity in the blood. And, accordingly, the buffer systems are not so loaded well, vegetable food for alkalizing the urine. In this way, we can protect the kidneys from stone formation and the bones from destruction.

Fourth: monitor your health; the simplest measure is to do a general urine test. In the available urine analysis, you look at the pH, that is, the acidity of the relics, and try to maintain it from 6.5 to 7. this will be optimal.

Well, for advanced users, you can determine the concentration of calcium in the daily urine. It will clearly show you how much your bone system is suffering.


What can we say with the most confidence? it is because an excess of protein negatively affects:

  • bone density
  • contributes to the formation of kidney stones

unclear question regarding the effect of excess protein on the:

  • liver
  • cardiovascular system
  • development of oncology

What should I do?

choose the golden mean probably 1/1. 2 grams per kilogram of weight per day will be enough for most people to maintain their health, and there were no negative phenomena due to an overabundance of protein

Sources of studies:

  1. Adverse Effects Associated with Protein Intake above the Recommended Dietary Allowance for Adults
  2. Dietary intake of total, animal, and plant proteins and risk of all cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies
  3. Mechanism of acid-induced bone resorption

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