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Forum Name: Nephrology Symptoms

Question: weightlifting?


 tigertiger - Sun Nov 11, 2007 6:58 pm

Hi, I am SO glad I found this forum as I am NOT confident in my doctors advice. So if I may, let me give you a brief overview of my problem: I am a 45yr. old black male, 6'0" 209lbs., moderate body fat (about 17%) very muscular as I am an AVID weight lifter (at least up until the kidney specialist suggested that I not lift heavy weight any more which depresses me!) non diabetic, excellent blood pressure, no family history of kidney problems, never had any surgery, and I am not taking any meds. I have not eaten beef in over 10yrs., and I have always made it a point to drink water, especially when weight training. Since I have been bodybuilding, I have made it a point to increase my protein intake for muscle building purposes, and I have taken amino acid, and creatine monohydrate supplements periodically, along with vitamins and other dietary supplements like garlic and omega 3 tablets. About 3 years ago, my general practitioner began to talk to me about test showing elevated levels of muscle enzymes. She finally concluded that it had to do with my weight training, but about a year ago, she told me my test showed a slight decrease in kidney function, and referred me to the kidney specialist that I referred to earlier. I have seen him twice in a year so far, and he has basically been taking test (GFR, CK, etc.) and having come to the same conclusion as she did, he has advised me not to take any supplements, cut back on protein intake, and not to lift heavy weight (he complains that it damages muscle tissue) In the mean time, he has been tracking my test results, and tells me that he is considering referring me for a biopsy (which I absolutely do NOT want to do! ) Based on this, I like to ask two questions: Is it really necessary for me to lift only light weights (what effect does heavy lifting have on my kidneys?)

Do you think that my use of so many supplements may be responsible for the slowing kidney function, and if so, can this reduced function be halted and even reversed?

I do not have the exact lab values (I wish I had remembered to record them) but it appears that as of my last test, the decline in function is not significant (at least not yet).

Thanks.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sun Nov 11, 2007 7:19 pm

User avatar Hi Tigertiger,

Based on this information I would agree with your kidney specialist. Weight lifting can cause kidney issues by an indirect route. Strenous weight lifting can damage the muscles. In fact, this is basically how the muscles get bigger. They get damaged a little and heal back stronger. When muscle tissue is damaged a protein called myoglobin is released. Myoglobin breakdown products can crystalize in the kidneys and damage them.

Many supplements can affect kidney function. I am less familiar with this aspect of things so I cannot say for certain regarding your supplements but I would tend to agree that it is safest to stop the supplements as well. If the supplements are causing the problem (or if the muscle breakdown is) the damage may very well improve and your kidney function may return to normal.

If your kidney function continues to decline a kidney biopsy is very likely to be warranted. This is the best way to determine why the function is decreasing.

Best wishes.
 tigertiger - Sun Nov 11, 2007 7:55 pm

Dr. Chan Lowe wrote:Hi Tigertiger,

Based on this information I would agree with your kidney specialist. Weight lifting can cause kidney issues by an indirect route. Strenous weight lifting can damage the muscles. In fact, this is basically how the muscles get bigger. They get damaged a little and heal back stronger. When muscle tissue is damaged a protein called myoglobin is released. Myoglobin breakdown products can crystalize in the kidneys and damage them.

Many supplements can affect kidney function. I am less familiar with this aspect of things so I cannot say for certain regarding your supplements but I would tend to agree that it is safest to stop the supplements as well. If the supplements are causing the problem (or if the muscle breakdown is) the damage may very well improve and your kidney function may return to normal.

If your kidney function continues to decline a kidney biopsy is very likely to be warranted. This is the best way to determine why the function is decreasing.

Best wishes.
Thanks doc, that explanation is clearer than any I've received from my doctor (which explains my lack of confidence in him) He says that I can lift weights, just not to the point where I am adding any new muscle growth, do you concur?
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sun Nov 11, 2007 10:17 pm

User avatar This sounds reasonable. I suspect the thought is to limit muscle breakdown, so doing light lifting to maintain muscle tone should be fine.

Please keep in mind, though, that I have not examined you, nor do I have all the details of your chart so my advise is based solely on what you have provided me. I may be missing something important. If there is concern, it is always safest to trust the doctor that has evaluated you.

Best wishes.
 tigertiger - Mon Nov 12, 2007 10:03 am

Dr. Chan Lowe wrote:This sounds reasonable. I suspect the thought is to limit muscle breakdown, so doing light lifting to maintain muscle tone should be fine.

Please keep in mind, though, that I have not examined you, nor do I have all the details of your chart so my advise is based solely on what you have provided me. I may be missing something important. If there is concern, it is always safest to trust the doctor that has evaluated you.

Best wishes.
I gotcha doc, I am only interested in another point of view, and yours has been most helpful. You have said basically the same things he has said, but you have been just a bit clearer than him.

Have you seen apparently otherwise healthy people with lab results that indicate slowing kidney function, successfully stop or even reverse the decline at some point?

Thanks

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