Protein is an essential part of the diet, necessary for supplying amino acids and building healthy muscles. Athletes often consume high levels of protein to help their bodies build more muscles quickly, and low-carb, high-protein diets have become popular as a means of losing fat. However, though protein is necessary, too much protein can result in more health problems, most of which begin in the kidney as it works overtime to eliminate the leftovers from all that protein.
Kidney Stress and Dehydration
According to MedicineNet.com, kidney stress is a common side effect of too much protein in the diet. The kidneys filter out all the toxins as your body processes food and creates waste. Too much protein can cause a build-up of toxic ketones, which cause the kidneys to work ceaselessly to get the ketones flushed out of your system. The kidneys are stressed from the overload, and your body loses calcium and water as both are flushed out with the excess urine created to eliminate the toxins. The body can quickly become dehydrated, which can cause fatigue, dizziness and physical weakness.
Gout is a potential problem from too much protein, according to Blake Bissaillion of Building-Muscle101.com. Gout is a build-up of uric acid that occurs in joints such as the elbows and knees. This build-up occurs when the kidneys simply cannot process and eliminate the uric acid from the body quickly enough; the body responds by creating deposits of uric acid, which can cause pain, inflammation and swelling of the joints.
Kidney Stones and Fat Formation
Rachael Meyerink of the Iowa State Daily reports that kidney stones are another potential hazard of taking in too much protein. The urea and nitrogen left in the body as the protein is processed can form stones in the kidneys if the kidneys are not able to process those deposits quickly enough. Kidney stones can be an extremely painful problem.
Another side effect of too much protein consumption is increased fat formation in the body. Even low-fat sources of protein contain calories, and if the body cannot burn the calories as energy, it converts them to fat and stores them throughout the body.