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what happens to excess protein?

by (78417)
Updated about 1 hour ago
Created August 16, 2011 at 3:39 AM

What does the body do with excess protein? Some people say it is passed through the urine. Others say it is converted to fat as the liver cannot metabolise it. So which one is it? (Twilight music in background)

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18671 · August 19, 2012 at 3:12 PM

I've researched this question more now, and here are my results: http://www.ketotic.org/2012/08/if-you-eat-excess-protein-does-it-turn.html

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4393 · January 04, 2012 at 9:24 AM

& this Paul Jaminet article http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=5027 backs up (is in agreement with) Ambimorph's gluconeogenesis comment. Scroll down to the diagram under the heading "Summary: Putting It All Together"

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · January 04, 2012 at 9:19 AM

& this Paul Jaminet article http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=5027 backs up Ambimorph's gluconeogenesis comment. Scroll down to the diagram under the heading "http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=5027"

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · January 04, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Paul Jaminet discusses what happens to excess protein here; http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=2712

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2890 · January 03, 2012 at 4:26 AM

Ambimorph is incorrect, I don't understand the upvotes. If you have excess protein you use gluconeogenesis.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63
2890 · January 02, 2012 at 10:21 PM

4 upvotes for something completely wrong. wow.

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1386 · October 21, 2011 at 10:33 PM

I think it depends on who you are. For most ppl, excess protein is dealt with fine because their metabolic machinery is working properly and is able to adapt (producing the right enzymes in adequate amounts, no deficiencies), whether we're talking in the liver or the kidneys. I think it can be problematic for some... It gets really complicated when you start talking about folks with excess ammonia and the actual source is really unknown. It's too simplistic to just blame excess protein. After all, derangement in the uric acid pathways is part of metabolic syndrome. Sorry to be so vague.

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3631 · October 14, 2011 at 11:51 PM

@Ambi, if not, where does the protein go?

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19220 · October 14, 2011 at 3:08 PM

That is all very good but what does the body do with excess protein?

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb
19220 · October 14, 2011 at 3:07 PM

That is all very good but what does the body do with excess protein? Which is what the question was asking.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb
19220 · October 14, 2011 at 3:06 PM

That is all very good but what does the body do with excess protein?

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8979 · October 14, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Nick, your post sounds like a zombie answer from a nutritionist. Do you have any cites?

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25467 · October 14, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Bullshit.......

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2707 · October 14, 2011 at 12:40 PM

isn't excess nitrogen (from too much protein ingested and throwing off nitrogen balance) toxic to the body? therefore excess protein is something to watch out for and could be toxic at high levels?

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19220 · October 14, 2011 at 11:45 AM

It is a useful point that the oxidation of amino acids for energy and the production of glucose from gluconeogenic amino acids in the liver are not the same process.

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19220 · October 14, 2011 at 11:34 AM

It is a useful point to make it clear that the two uses are not the same. 1 The oxidation of amino acids for energy in the mitochondria of cells. 2 The production of glucose from gluconeogenic amino acids in the liver.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb
19220 · October 14, 2011 at 11:31 AM

It is a useful point to define the two processes. 1 The oxidation of amino acids for energy in the mitochondria of cells. 2 The production of glucose from amino acids in the liver to supply the brain with usable energy.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb
19220 · October 14, 2011 at 11:15 AM

That is a nice diagram.

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18671 · August 16, 2011 at 7:48 PM

Gluconeogenesis is on-demand in a regular working body. You don't make more than you need just because the protein is there.

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8 Answers

4bf5827bfb7df85c5b4b485db0945e64
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1386 · August 16, 2011 at 5:14 AM

So, first let's assume you digest your protein into the usable building blocks: amino acids. Excess dietary amino acids cannot be stored for future use, nor are they excreted unused. Instead, they are converted to common metabolic intermediates that can be either oxidized by the citric acid cycle or used to form glucose or fat. The excess nitrogen liberated by the metabolic degradation of amino acids is excreted in the form of urea via the urea cycle.

4bf5827bfb7df85c5b4b485db0945e64
1386 · October 21, 2011 at 10:33 PM

I think it depends on who you are. For most ppl, excess protein is dealt with fine because their metabolic machinery is working properly and is able to adapt (producing the right enzymes in adequate amounts, no deficiencies), whether we're talking in the liver or the kidneys. I think it can be problematic for some... It gets really complicated when you start talking about folks with excess ammonia and the actual source is really unknown. It's too simplistic to just blame excess protein. After all, derangement in the uric acid pathways is part of metabolic syndrome. Sorry to be so vague.

2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2
2707 · October 14, 2011 at 12:40 PM

isn't excess nitrogen (from too much protein ingested and throwing off nitrogen balance) toxic to the body? therefore excess protein is something to watch out for and could be toxic at high levels?

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8879 · October 14, 2011 at 10:56 AM

Some gets converted to glucose, some gets used for energy by feeding into metabolic pathways for glucose or fatty acids at various points.

From: http://carbsanity.blogspot.com/2010/06/protein-for-energy.html

what-happens-to-excess-protein?

FWIW, the "excess" part that you're thinking about being excreted in the urine is the nitrogen in the form of urea. Nitrogen balance limits protein, but I've seen the ceiling on what constitutes too much at least 250g and likely more.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb
19220 · October 14, 2011 at 11:45 AM

It is a useful point that the oxidation of amino acids for energy and the production of glucose from gluconeogenic amino acids in the liver are not the same process.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb
19220 · October 14, 2011 at 11:34 AM

It is a useful point to make it clear that the two uses are not the same. 1 The oxidation of amino acids for energy in the mitochondria of cells. 2 The production of glucose from gluconeogenic amino acids in the liver.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb
19220 · October 14, 2011 at 11:31 AM

It is a useful point to define the two processes. 1 The oxidation of amino acids for energy in the mitochondria of cells. 2 The production of glucose from amino acids in the liver to supply the brain with usable energy.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb
19220 · October 14, 2011 at 11:15 AM

That is a nice diagram.

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1186 · August 16, 2011 at 5:10 AM

Excess protein will be converted into glucose, so that your body can use it for fuel. The process is called gluconeogenesis. If your body doesn't need to use the fuel, it will store it, like anything else. This is why calories are still calories, no matter what format they come in.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
18671 · August 19, 2012 at 3:12 PM

I've researched this question more now, and here are my results: http://www.ketotic.org/2012/08/if-you-eat-excess-protein-does-it-turn.html

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · January 04, 2012 at 9:24 AM

& this Paul Jaminet article http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=5027 backs up (is in agreement with) Ambimorph's gluconeogenesis comment. Scroll down to the diagram under the heading "Summary: Putting It All Together"

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · January 04, 2012 at 9:19 AM

& this Paul Jaminet article http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=5027 backs up Ambimorph's gluconeogenesis comment. Scroll down to the diagram under the heading "http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=5027"

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · January 04, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Paul Jaminet discusses what happens to excess protein here; http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=2712

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63
2890 · January 03, 2012 at 4:26 AM

Ambimorph is incorrect, I don't understand the upvotes. If you have excess protein you use gluconeogenesis.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63
2890 · January 02, 2012 at 10:21 PM

4 upvotes for something completely wrong. wow.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628
3631 · October 14, 2011 at 11:51 PM

@Ambi, if not, where does the protein go?

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
18671 · August 16, 2011 at 7:48 PM

Gluconeogenesis is on-demand in a regular working body. You don't make more than you need just because the protein is there.

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6709 · January 02, 2012 at 9:52 PM

The glucose created from the conversion of protein is not likely to be stored as fat via de novo lipogenesis (nor is consumed carbohydrate). The glucose will be stored as glycogen in either the muscles or liver OR burned up. The only time its converted to fat is when liver and muscle stores are maxed out AND too much glucose is present to be burned off (highly unlikely on a paleo diet with activity). Fat gain is directly related to having high glucose in the blood AND fat. The more glucose present the less fat burned and the more fat (if present) stored. Fat storage is directly correlated to the presence of glucose in the blood stream.

Fat can not be directly converted to glycogen as the metabolic pathway does not exist. The glycerol backbone of fat CAN be converted to glucose through a pyruvate pathway, but it is highly inefficient, produces minimal glucose and only occurs when blood/liver glycogen are depleted and the brain is not keto adapted. Therefore the amount of fat converted to glycogen is negligible.

This link explains the possible 3 outcomes protein can have inside a human.http://themedicalbiochemistrypage.org/amino-acid-metabolism.html

What it really comes down to is what is consumed WITH excess protein, whether or not glycogen stores are full, and whether or not muscles are in growth mode.

The fate of excess protein is different in a fasted state than a fed state, a depleted glycogen state, a keto-genic state, a starvation state, a high glucose state, etc.

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0 · April 04, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Excess nitrogen from the breakdown of protein will constantly stress out the kidneys. Yes, the carbon portion of the amino acid will be stored or used but the excess nitrogenous waste products slowly damage the nephrons (kidney functioning units) over many decades of life. Take the ever growing group of individuals (millions) that have diabetes and hypertension and the risks for shorter term kidney damage skyrockets.

See renovatingyourmind.com later today (4/4/13) on this specific topic and other subjects that will blow your mind.

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78417 · January 02, 2012 at 11:56 PM

I'm assuming you are eating a fairly natural diet. Unless you are overeating food, there is no "excess protein"

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25467 · October 14, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Li Z, Treyzon L, Chen S, Yan E, Thames G, Carpenter CL. Protein-enriched meal replacements do not adversely affect liver, kidney or bone density: an outpatient randomized controlled trial. Nutr J 2011;9(1):72. http://www.nutritionj.com/content/pd...-2891-9-72.pdf

BACKGROUND: There is concern that recommending protein-enriched meal replacements as part of a weight management program could lead to changes in biomarkers of liver or renal function and reductions in bone density. This study was designed as a placebo-controlled clinical trial utilizing two isocaloric meal plans utilizing either a high protein-enriched (HP) or a standard protein (SP) meal replacement in an outpatient weight loss program. Subjects/methods: 100 obese men and women over 30 years of age with a body mass index (BMI) between 27 to 40 kg/m2 were randomized to one of two isocaloric weight loss meal plans 1). HP group: providing 2.2 g protein/kg of lean body mass (LBM)/day or 2). SP group: providing 1.1 g protein/kg LBM/day. Meal replacement (MR) was used twice daily (one meal, one snack) for 3 months and then once a day for 9 months. Body weight, lipid profiles, liver function, renal function and bone density were measured at baseline and 12 months.

CONCLUSIONS: These studies demonstrate that protein-enriched meals replacements as compared to standard meal replacements recommended for weight management do not have adverse effects on routine measures of liver function, renal function or bone density at one year.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb
19220 · October 14, 2011 at 3:08 PM

That is all very good but what does the body do with excess protein?

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb
19220 · October 14, 2011 at 3:07 PM

That is all very good but what does the body do with excess protein? Which is what the question was asking.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb
19220 · October 14, 2011 at 3:06 PM

That is all very good but what does the body do with excess protein?

Bee4e0fda817da9857443bd40f552a75
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240 · October 14, 2011 at 8:30 AM

Converts to glucose via gluconeogenesis.Causes excess urination and dehydration as a result.Excess protein intake is not good for you,acidifies blood and creates toxic byproducts.

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8979 · October 14, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Nick, your post sounds like a zombie answer from a nutritionist. Do you have any cites?

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117
25467 · October 14, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Bullshit.......

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