Urea Cycle Disorder and Protein Over-consumption
By: Marylin Salgado
July 22, 2019
Urea cycle disorder is a rare genetic condition in which the body can’t metabolize protein and release ammonia from the blood. It is more commonly diagnosed after birth, but recently, some adults, who displayed no symptoms during childhood, are being diagnosed in their adult years.
Recently, a 25 – year – old Australian fitness enthusiast died due to the disorder. Her mother states her daughter died from protein and supplement overuse. What mom failed to realize is that urea cycle disorder is a genetic disorder, and is passed down from parent to child. More than likely, mom or dad had the disorder and were never diagnosed. While the media spends a lovely time bashing the fitness industry by stating that the excessive use of supplements killed this young woman, here at TokkyoNutrition we like to educate and advise our consumers with the obvious; moderation is best. Unfortunately, not all use common sense.
Two things killed this woman; excessive use of protein supplements and the fact she had urea cycle disorder. Her disorder, like many other adults, was not discovered until after she was severely ill.
- Episodes of disorientation
- Slurred speech
- Unusual combativeness or agitation
- Stroke – like symptoms
- Lethargy and delirium
- Psychiatric symptoms such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia
Without proper diagnosis and treatment, these individuals can suffer from permanent brain damage, coma and even death.
According to the National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation, 85% of female carriers with this deficiency exhibit no symptoms. It has also been found that with the following, Urea Cycle is even more difficult to diagnose:
- Adults with viral illnesses
- Women after giving childbirth
- Excessive dieting including HIGH PROTEIN DIETS
- Excessive exercising
- Gastric Bypass Surgery
- Use of Valproic Acid (medication used to treat seizures), which can increase ammonia levels
How can this affect those of us that take protein as a supplement?
As stated before, females are more difficult to diagnose due to the lack of symptoms. Either way, if family members or friends advise you are displaying some of the above noted symptoms, it wouldn’t hurt to visit your doctor and let them know you are taking protein supplement and friends and family members have noticed a change in behavior. Your doctor can initially check your ammonia blood levels by ordering a simple blood test. Why ammonia? Because ammonia is derived from dietary protein, but at high levels, is toxic to the blood. Therefore, ammonia levels have become the standard in diagnosing urea cycle disorders.
What does over-consumption of protein do to your system?
- Intestinal discomfort, including diarrhea
- Unexplained exhaustion
Serious conditions linked to over-consumption of protein
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Heart disease
- Liver and Kidney issues
Remember that besides the protein powder shakes you take; you may consume protein in your diet depending on your food choices.
The following is a list of some protein rich foods:
- 1 egg – 7 grams
- 4-ounce chicken or turkey – 35 grams of protein
- Hamburger patty – 28 grams
- 6-ounce steak – 42 grams
- 3-ounce shrimp – 18 grams
- 4-ounce salmon – 32 grams
- 6-ounce tuna – 40 grams
- average size pork chop – 22 grams
- 4-ounce pork loin – 29 grams
- 3-ounce ham – 19 grams
If you eat any of these on a daily basis or a few times a week, take into consideration the amount of protein you are ingesting through diet and supplements. If after consuming both a shake, and for example, a 6-ounce piece of tuna, you feel some stomach discomfort, then that might be a good indication you have over-consumed protein. If you are experiencing daily symptoms, then seriously consider decreasing your protein intake and visiting your doctor or dietician a thorough dietary evaluation.
This platform is meant to educate Tokkyo Nutrition consumers with the information needed to help you stay mentally and physically healthy.
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