I have changed quite a bit from last year. Mentally, physically, socially, but my health has changed too. But up until recently when I made a trip to an endocrinologist about my hormones (hypothalamic amenorrhea) and just a general blood test, I discovered something I had no clue existed. For starters let me say that my hormone levels came back normal except for my LH being too low. Hence, no menstrual cycle. While discussing this with my doctor on the phone, he strongly suggested birth control and gaining a little more weight. Of course I happen to be a little frustrated because I told him birth control didn’t work on me and that’s not the way I can get a natural period. Doctors are really one-sided and he continued to tell me it’s the only option.
So gaining weight it is! Gotcha doc.
But he failed to tell me something that could be very important to my health long-term…
my blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine (not creatine you gym junkies) were HIGH.
Curious little me did some research. What I learned was…
Urea is made when protein is broken down in the body. This also is an indicator of how your kidneys and liver are working. Causes of a high BUN is heart failure, dehydration, and a high protein diet. Well, I haven’t had heart failure and I drink well around 64 oz of fluids a day. Oh, but I’m sitting there eating a protein bar with yogurt just because “gains” right?
Creatinine relates to BUN as it shows how well the kidneys are working. Having high creatinine is a sign that the kidneys are not working properly.
But it all makes sense. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one out there that has fallen victim to buying a shit ton of protein bars, powders and supplements because it’s what you need for building muscle, right?! Well…. what about your kidneys?
Yes, it is science that protein consumption increases muscle synthesis. But what if you are over-doing it?
I think of all the other women out there that live their lives everyday not eating protein bars, protein cookies, protein pancakes, and protein shakes for their snacks every single day. They live perfectly fine and they still seem to be in shape and have muscle.
What I get from all this is as long as you are eating a good amount of protein from a variety of whole foods such as beans, meat, yogurt, cheese, etc. then why are we supplementing so much? I am so glad I did my own background research to see what I was doing. And I am surprised he did not mention this to me.
Am I going to completely cut protein bars and powders from my diet? No. I am going to limit them. I will use them if it’s after a workout and I don’t have time to make a full meal. Maybe I’ll have a quest bar if I REALLY crave it, but by no means will I keep eating them day after day. I am going to focus on just eating whole foods and change my snacks up a bit. I am not a “clean” eater by all means but instead of a protein bar, maybe I’ll have an apple with peanut butter… popcorn, trail mix, a REAL non-protein cookie instead.
And I will be just fine. I don’t expect my body to change much from this. If it does, it doesn’t really matter. My overall health is what matters. I would love to have healthy kidneys that last me my whole life.
I really hope that whoever reads this really considers how much extra protein you are eating and what that could do for you in the long run. We are set out to believe it’s the best macro nutrient out there but just like anything else, moderation is key.
I love to hear any thoughts/comments/concerns so hit me up! 😉