How Does Urea Affect Your Kidney Function?

Urea, the waste product, is one of the main sources for nitrogen in the body. Like other wastes, it is filtered by the kidneys to pass out of the body through urine. Chronic high amount of urea in the blood can affect your kidney function or even may contribute to cause kidney failure!

Urea – what actually is it?

Your body needs good, regular nourishment to maintain all body functions. After nutrients from the food have taken, waste products are left behind. The urinary system (including kidneys) works together with intestines, lungs, skin or other organs that excrete wastes – to maintain the balance of water and chemicals in the body.

Every day we (adults) can remove about a quart and a half of urine. This amount can be attributed by some factors such as how many glasses of water you drink or foods rich in fluid you eat – and how much water you lose through breathing or sweat. Even certain medications have an effect on the amount of urine eliminated!

image_illustration401Urea or carbamide is the major waste product of your body. It can be found in the urine, and even it is the major organic component of your urine. It is also a waste product of lots of living organisms – it’s not only found in human.

Amino acids

The amount of urea produced by the liver and released into the bloodstream is associated with amino acids. Therefore, it’s not bad idea to understand them first.

Protein is essential, the building blocks of life. When it’s digested, amino acids are left. In other words, amino acids are organic compounds in protein

The body use amino acids for a number of different uses; grow, break down food, repair tissue, and more. The body also can use it for energy.

In general, amino acids are divided into 3 groups; nonessential, essential, and conditional amino acids.

Nonessential amino acids

They can be produced in the body, even though you don’t get them through your diet. This is also the reason of why they are called ‘nonessential’ – but this term doesn’t mean that they are any less important.

There are some nonessential amino acids. These include aspartic acid, asparagines, glutamic acid, and alanine.

Essential amino acids

Unlike unessential amino acids, the body cannot make essential amino acids on its own. Therefore, you need to get it from food.

Essential amino acids include valine, threonine, methionine, leucine, histidine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, lysine, and isoleucine. Healthy foods high in these amino acids include eggs, soybeans, quinoa, whole grains, peanuts, some fruits (such as oranges, apples, and bananas), avocados, lentils, sunflower seeds, etc.

Conditional amino acids

These amino acids are usually necessary in times of stress and illness. These include serine, ornithine, tyrosine, cysteine, proline, glycine, arginine, and glutamine.

We don’t have to include foods containing essential and nonessential amino acids at our every meal. Just get them in balance over the whole day!

Is high-protein diet safe?

Urea is derived from ammonia, which is a byproduct of reaction when the body metabolizes amino acids. This means that the amount of urea that your liver will produce is likely to rise if you eat more protein.

Diet high in protein is good for a number of different benefits. But make sure to NOT go too high!

Diet very high in protein may be counterproductive for your health, particularly true if you have kidney disease since your body may get trouble in removing all waste products of protein metabolism – though this issue is still debatable.

Some studies suggest that diet high in protein is safe especially for those without kidney problem or diabetes (kidney disease is common in diabetics). However in general, it’s much better to stay with a healthy-balanced diet, eating in moderation.

Your well-balanced diet is usually enough to provide protein. If you’re healthy, taking protein supplements are not necessary! If you do need to take supplement, check with your doctor first!

How does your body make urea?

Urea is a byproduct coming from the end of chain of reactions when your body breaks down the amino acids.

At first, amino acids in the liver are metabolized and converted to energy, water, CO2, and ammonia. But ammonia is very toxic and harmful for cells of the body. Therefore, the liver needs to turn it into non-toxic compound called urea so thus it can be safely circulated from the liver to the kidneys, where it is eventually removed through urine!

How does your body get rid of urea?

For summary, the following are steps of the body makes and removes urea:

  1. Ammonia is produced in the liver as a byproduct of protein or amino acid metabolism. It is toxic and contains nitrogen.
  2. Since ammonia is too dangerous to be delivered through bloodstream – with help of other elements (such as oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon), liver changes ammonia containing nitrogen into urea!
  3. Then urea is delivered to the kidney through renal arteries, blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the kidneys.
  4. Urea and other waste products are filtered when they pass the kidneys.
  5. The filtered things (including urea) pass out of the body through urine.

On average, adults can excrete about 25 grams of urea through urine a day. As it goes stale, it returns into ammonia with the help of bacteria, giving the pungent smell of lavatories

How does urea affect kidney function?

The production of urea is a part of natural metabolism for protein. As long as your kidneys work well in filtering urea from the bloodstream and removing it out of the body through urine, there should be nothing to worry.

Urea is one of your chief nitrogenous wastes. Although it is less harmful than ammonia, but the body cannot tolerate high urea concentration in the blood.

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