T Nation

Elevated Creatinine & Proteinuria

I am a 58 year old bodybuilder, T2 diabetic, on a high protein diet and been bodybuilding for 28 years. I used to have an internal med doctor in Mississippi but recently moved to Texas where I have a new one. I eat very little carbs, usually <45 grams/day, but mostly protein and good fats. My blood work has shown creatinine up to 1.6 and I have had proteinuria for many years. My understanding is that this is very common amongst bodybuilders. My doctor is sending me to a nephrologist based on my eGFR which was 44 the last time I went. Six months earlier it was 52 and my creatinine was 1.37 and six months prior to that my creatinine was 1.5. I have had creatinine levels just above high normal for many years which I believe is from my high protein diet, hard bodybuilding six days a week and my distinct lack of water intake. Does anyone else out there have a similar situation and can discuss with me?

I would tend to agree with you that bodybuilding is the primary culprit for your elevated Glomerular Filtration Rate. Also, if you are supplementing with creatine, that could increase creatinine levels, which would result in a lower eGFR.

I supplement with creatine and lift weights, and I have had a blood test or two that had (mildly) elevated creatinine levels. What I did was before my next blood test, I stopped supplementing creatine for a week with and went a few days without lifting. My results then showed normal creatinine levels.

You could try the same thing to see what kind of results you get.

A couple things that would make me pause though would be your diagnosis of Type 2. I do not know how well your diabetes is controlled. Kidneys are susceptible to the vascular damage caused by diabetes. Combine that with your acknowledgement of always having proteinuria and it would be worth investigating more thoroughly.

How is your blood pressure?

Thank you for the input. I am currently keeping my diabetes under control, but for several months, my BG reading were always above 150 as high as 300, until I started taking insulin which brought them down into the 100-125 range. My BP is controlled with candesartan and has been relatively normal for many years.

I’ve read a number of studies which conclude that bodybuilders have elevated creatinine levels as well as elevated BUN many times and sometimes elevated AST and ALT.

I posted a study several years back that showed false positive blood proteins for over 1 week after the last intense weight training workout. There are two different proteins though, one strictly from muscle and the other from other tissues-liver I think, and if they areBOTH high it is a problem. Maybe its bilirubin? I’ll check tomorrow. It may be the ratio of alt to sat.

By the way, my son has type 1 so I have studied blood sugar issues rather intensively. For a type 2 diabetic, there is only a small increase in kidney disease up to a 6.5 A1c but the risk takes a rapid upturn above 6.5.

Yes, the elevated creatinine levels can be from increased muscle protein turnover. This can be from weight training where you are breaking down and building up muscle protein, or just from regular maintenance of increased muscle mass.

A slight elevation that you have shown which has remained fairly constant over the years (by your claim) seems to be consistent with your lifestyle and/or body composition.

You’ll see higher levels of serum creatinine in african-americans which is hypothesized to be from increased muscle mass.

“The higher eGFR for African-Americans at a given serum creatinine level is consistent with their greater skeletal muscle mass”


If you are worried about it, I would try what I did with stopping creatine supplementation and training several days before you next blood draw that measures creatinine.

As I work out 6 days a week, always intensely, I would guess this is the
main cause of my creatinine level being elevated. I only rest one day per

I would love to see the study you mentioned so I can show it to my

I’m not worried too much. I just wish I had you here to tell me doctor
this. She’s an internal med doctor. I think a nephrologist who’s worth his
degree would know about this…I hope!

My doc made me retest even though the ratios were only consistent with muscle proteins. I took a week off (it was hard) and they were normal.

Look what I found : https://www.t-nation.com/living/tip-how-lifters-should-read-lab-results

Thanks, brother! I have a study somewhere in my piles of stuff about
elevated AST and ALT done by the University of Oslo and a study done by the
University of Toronto about elevated creatinine, all in bodybuilders. I’ll
have to find those things.

My creatinine tests:
9/15/2011 1.3
9/13/2012 1.4
3/14/2013 1.7
9/9/2013 1.7
3/17/2014 1.2
9/22/2014 1.5
3/30/2015 1.4
10/5/2015 1.5
Latest three tests not listed here were 1.5, 1.7 and 1.7

58 years old, 6-1, 216 pounds,Training 6X/week for 1 to 1.5 hours.high
protein diet with less than 20 g carbs per day.

I’d like to see what other lifters’ levels are.