New Study: Anabolic Steroids & Nutritional Supplements Cause Kidney Damage

By Admin –

A recent study has confirmed that anabolic steroids cause kidney damage and when combined with a nutritional program containing supplements – the damage is worse.

Anabolic steroids cause damage to in internal organs and other steroid related side effects. Especially to the kidneys and/or when blood pressure is allowed to increase and remain increased and not treated. This can be compounded by a high-protein diet, alcohol consumption and the use of other drugs or steroids combined.

The kidneys are mainly used for the detoxification and cleaning of the blood, so when stress is placed on them because of the use of androgens, or a diet high in protein, other bodily processes can be compromised.

Doctors and medical professionals have known for decades that anabolic steroids cause renal damage. Oral steroids or injectable steroids, there is evidence both have negative effects on renal function.

More recent data again confirms that steroids impact the kidneys and cause damage.

kidney damage graphic 2In the relatively new 2009 study [1], Dr. Leal Herlitz, of Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, studied kidney damage on ten bodybuilders also using anabolic steroids.

After blood tests revealed that protein was being excreted in large quantitates in the bodybuilders urine, it was suspected they were suffering from kidney damage.

Out of the ten tested, nine had a condition consistent with kidney function impairment or focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.

According to Dr. Herlitz and her researchers, this condition becomes evident when the kidneys are overworked and their effectiveness damaged.

In the paper published at the American Society of Nephrology, their kidney scaring was worse than that of obese patients.

Unfortunately, one of the ten bodybuilders did develop kidney failure and needed life-saving dialysis. The other nine saw significant improvements in their renal function upon cessation of the anabolic steroids.

In a more recent 2015 study in Iraq (2), researches again links acute kidney injury to the use of anabolic steroids and nutritional supplements.

Michael D. Hughson, MD, of Shorsh General Hospital in Kurdistan, led the study, examining in detail the kidney damage of four bodybuilders reporting “lethargy” and “weakness”.

In blood tests conducted by the researchers, it was found that the four bodybuilders had high creatinine levels. Their tests showed serum creatinine levels of 2.6–3.8 mg/d, above range. Renal biopsies then revealed acute tubular necrosis.

The bodybuilders had been using two injectable anabolic steroids, Testosterone Propionate and Deca-Durabolin (Nandrolone Deconoate) at doses above 400mg per week. They also ingested commercial whey protein supplements at 78-104g per day and creatine monohydrate at 15mg per day.

The next set of blood tests results were carried out after the bodybuilders had stopped taking steroids and whey protein shakes. Four weeks elapsed and their serum creatinine returned to the normal range below 1.4 mg/dl and eGFR rose to 60 mL/min per 1.73 m2

The two more sever cases of kidney damage experiencing interstitial fibrosis and tubular atrophy, also saw their serum levels fall into normal ranges.

“The findings highlight a risk for acute and potentially chronic kidney injury among young men abusing anabolic steroids and using excessive amounts of nutritional supplements,” the researchers wrote.

In regards to the two cases reporting serious kidney injury, the researchers considered the possibilities of hypervitaminosis-D induced nephrocalcinosis, calcium-alkali syndrome, and acute phosphate nephropathy, but found no evidence for these conditions at the time.

Dismissing the possibilities of dehydration, they concluded direct kidney toxicity by the use of steroids and nutritional supplements was to blame.

If you use anabolic steroids and are concerned with kidney damage, use low/moderate doses, take sufficient time off using steroids, don’t abuse steroids, get regular blood tests, do cardio, monitor blood pressure and follow a clean diet all year.

For further reading on the steroids side effects see this article.



[2]. Almukhtar, SE, et al. Clinical Kidney Journal, 2015; doi: 10.1093/ckj/sfv032.