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Albumin

Updated: Mar 27

What is Albumin?

Albumin is a protein produced by the liver and present in the blood (see article on proteins). It helps transport important substances such as hormones, fatty acids and medications through the bloodstream to where they are needed by the body. Albumin also helps maintain fluid balance in blood vessels and balances pH. It also stores certain nutrients.



How can the levels be affected?

The presence of albumin in urine can be linked to various factors related to physical activity. Here are some potential reasons why albuminuria may be observed in athletes:

  1. Dehydration: Intense or prolonged exercise, particularly in hot or humid conditions, can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can increase the concentration of substances filtered by the kidneys, including albumin. Consequently, athletes who become dehydrated during exercise may temporarily have high levels of albumin in their urine.

  2. Exercise-induced muscle damage: Intense physical activity, particularly activities involving eccentric muscle contractions (such as downhill running or heavy resistance training), can lead to muscle damage. In response to muscle damage, the body may release inflammatory mediators that can temporarily increase albumin levels in urine.

  3. Extreme exercise stress: Participation in ultra-endurance events or extreme training regimens can subject the body, including the kidneys, to significant stress. Prolonged periods of intense exercise can lead to temporary changes in kidney filtration and an increase in urinary proteins, including albumin.

  4. Hydration status: In some cases, overhydration can also contribute to high albumin levels. Drinking excessive amounts of water without adequate electrolyte intake can disrupt the kidneys and increase levels of proteins such as albumin in urine.


It is important to note that elevated urinary albumin is transient after intense exercise. Monitoring hydration status and adapting training intensity and duration can help athletes manage urinary albumin levels.


How can I maintain an optimal rate?

To maintain optimal albumin levels in sports-related urine, consider the following strategies:

  • Stay well hydrated: Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise to maintain adequate hydration levels.

  • Avoid overtraining: Overtraining and excessive physical stress can strain the kidneys and lead to high levels of albumin in the urine. Be sure to balance the intensity and frequency of your workouts to avoid overtraining.

  • Monitor protein intake: Although protein is important for muscle repair and growth, excessive protein consumption can put additional strain on the kidneys. Try to eat a balanced diet with a moderate intake of protein from a variety of sources as indicated below:

Fruits

Vegetables

Cereals

Proteins

- Apples

- Pears

- Peaches

- ...

- Peppers

- Cucumbers

- Leeks

- ...

- Brown rice

- Quinoa

- Oats

- ...

- Salmon

- Mackerel

- Tuna

- Poultry

- Chicken

- Turkey

- ...

Avoid excessive consumption of processed foods, refined sugars and sodium-rich foods.

  • Rest and recover sufficiently: Give your body enough time to rest and recover between workouts. Overtraining and lack of adequate rest can increase urinary albumin levels.

  • Avoid excessive use of NSAIDs: Excessive use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can increase the risk of kidney damage, so limit their use and opt for other pain management strategies whenever possible.


By following these tips and taking a balanced approach to exercise, nutrition and overall health, you can help maintain optimal levels of albumin in urine.

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