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I have a mild chronic kidney disease, through which I have an elevated creatinine level and decreased kidney function. Due to this, I cannot take good amounts of protein, and need to follow a relatively low-protein diet to decrease the load on the kidneys. I currently do kick-boxing, and 2 / 3 times a week of circuit resistance training.

Reading on the topic, a lot of forums / information mention quite a good amount of protein per body weight. Is this absolutely necessary to increase in muscle size? Is there anything I can do to help, without actually including excessive amounts of protein in my diet?

My main aim is to increase in muscle size / mass, rather than strength, although it would be beneficial if I were to increase both. In general, I don't think I have a bad shape or form, and already have a good amount of muscle size but would like to increase it .

Another thing of curiosity I would like to ask about is - I read about creatine supplements, which are somewhat related to creatinine level. I have a naturally high creatinine level due to the mild kidney disease, which hovers in the 130 - 150 range. Does this have any to do with muscle size? If some people actually take supplements to increase, could this actually be of any relevance?

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Proteins are the building blocks of our cells, so unfortunately you cannot compromise on a good supply of protein per kg of body weight. –  anaheim Jun 11 '13 at 14:33
    
You'd really need to define the 'good amounts of protein' you can have. That said this is a question probably better suited to your doctor or nutritionist. –  Lego Stormtroopr Jun 17 '13 at 10:09
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2 Answers

There are few things to say on the matter.

1) You cannot build good muscle if you only do kick-boxing and/or circuit resistance training. If you want to gain muscles you have to two things: weight-lift and eat properly (see 2).

2) The first thing to keep in mind when you want to gain weight is that you need to bring into your body more calories than you burn. Also, the correct division of macros is essential.

3) Now the answer to your question: yes and no. Yes, you do not need to eat a huge amount of protein to gain muscles. Many people do because having a good amount of protein in your blood flow facilitate building muscles (and avoid catabolic reactions). However, protein are indeed building blocks for your muscles: therefore you cannot gain size without a proper amount of the. How much is a proper amount? This vary from person to person, the old-fashioned rule of thumb says bodybuilder should take at least 1.0 - 1.6 grams of protein per lb (source).

I am no doctor so I cannot tell you if this intake is too much for you, given your condition. You should definitely speak to your doctor or to a nutritionist. You also asked for supplements: yes, there are supplements that may help you gaining weight. However, they are called supplements for one reason; you cannot do any good if you do not provide a basics amount of macros (in this case protein) to your body. If you are interested on the matter you can read this page, which summarize all the basic supplements.

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Mike Mentzer, a former mr Universe (only one with a perfect score), ate around 100 grams of protein daily. He questioned bodybuilding dogma (and was probably the most controversial bodybuilder ever) and reasoned it made no sense to eat a lot of protein because protein wasn't used for energy like carbs and fat are. That means it isn't dependent on your activity levels. I suggest reading How much protein by Brad Pilon (author of Eat Stop Eat), where he analyzed lots of research on protein intake. Among other things he mentions that in scientific research "high protein" means 0.55 to 0.7 grams per pound. In bodybuilding "high protein" is 2-3 grams per pound! He says the protein intake should be between 70 to 120 grams per day on average, even for steroid users. Here's one more article for you to check out: http://mennohenselmans.com/the-myth-of-1glb-optimal-protein-intake-for-bodybuilders/

Remember that it's the supplement companies that own all the biggest muscle magazines, and that they use those magazines to advertise their own products. The supplement industry is a billion dollar business! How do you think George Hackenschimdt became one of the strongest men ever to live in the beginning of the 20th century, with no supplements whatsoever? All he needed was hard work, good food and lots of rest, and the same applies to you and me.

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