Does Pre-Workout Cause Kidney Stones? (how bad?)

January 8, 2024 |

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One common cause of concern that people have is, can pre-workout damage your kidneys?

Like all things in life, pre-workouts are not completely without some negative sides.

Of course, if you are a perfectly healthy individual and are using the product as directed, the chances of it causing you any harm is little to none.

Unfortunately for some people, this does not always hold, and they may face adverse effects of a pre-workout.

Newcomers to the world of supplements find themselves asking whether workout supplements can cause kidney problems.

There is no definitive answer as there are numerous factors involved, but there are a few things that you can keep in mind when looking for a pre-workout to minimize your chances of kidney issues.

kidney pain

What Are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones are hard masses that are formed in the kidneys. It can be hard to picture a mass of anything forming inside the kidneys as they are the filters of the body; they filter your blood from toxins and create urine for excretion.

However, it is this very fact that can lead to the formation of kidney stones in one or both of the kidneys.

How Are Kidney Stones Formed?

The kidneys are the body’s fluid filters. They filter excess minerals as well as toxins out of the body through urine.

Usually, the kidneys are very good at handling high levels of toxins and minerals; however, on some occasions, their filtering capacity is not enough to remove these substances.

The accumulation of these crystalloid substances leads to the formation of kidney stones. These stones can range from small asymptomatic stones to larger stones that can cause pain and other symptoms. There may be one or multiple stones found in one or both kidneys.

The accumulation of these mineral substances is usually due to low urine output, as it is the urine that transports these minerals out of the body. When the body is not able to produce sufficient amounts of urine, kidney stones are more likely to develop.

Do Pre-workouts Cause Kidney Stones?

There is no definitive answer to this question as much as you may be looking for a clear-cut answer to whether or not supplements cause kidney stones.

Kidney stones can be caused by pre-workout supplements regardless of whether or not you have predisposing kidney disease.

One of the many questions that people ask when purchasing a pre-workout supplement is what is the best pre-workout for kidneys?

Does creatine cause kidney stones? What supplements can cause kidney stones? There is no easy or right answer to these questions.

Yes, they can cause kidney stones. Yes, taking a pre-workout with a pre-existing kidney condition can prove difficult for your kidneys and may worsen your kidney health.

Yes, the presence of creatine in a supplement can affect the formation of kidney stones in the body. There are a few things that you should be looking into when purchasing a pre-workout that will ensure greater protection for the kidneys.

There are, of course, other factors that can affect the way a supplement affects your kidneys.

Things such as your overall diet, your kidney health, the number of supplements you are consuming, and even your hydration levels can all affect your kidneys.

Common Causes Behind Kidney Stones from Pre-Workouts

The following are the common culprits behind kidney stones caused by pre-workouts:


An unhealthy diet can be a major contributor to the formation of kidney stones as it increases the work your kidneys must do to remove toxins from your body.

This, combined with a pre-workout that comes packed with minerals and various other nutrients, can overwork your kidneys to the point where they are unable to compensate for the increased workload.

When you are considering taking a pre-workout supplement, it is important to assess your overall diet initially.

If you are eating an unhealthy diet, it may not be wise to begin taking a pre-workout before fixing your diet, as it increases your chances of forming kidney stones.

Protein Content

Proteins are broken down into amino acids, which are then further broken down into uric acid. Uric acid needs to be removed from the body.

When the kidneys are functioning perfectly, and the amount of protein is within the recommended amount, uric acid is not a problem.

However, increased protein intake can lead to the crystallization of uric acid and the formation of kidney stones in the kidneys.

A pre-workout that is high in protein may lead to the formation of kidney stones.

Many people forget to consider the protein that they intake in their diet when consuming protein in supplement form. This leads to an increase in the breakdown of proteins and, consequently, uric acid.

This increase in uric acid leads to its precipitation out of urine and causes the formation of kidney stones. The larger the protein intake, the more uric acid is precipitated and the greater the size of the kidney stones.

Mineral Content

Another ingredient to take into consideration when looking into a pre-workout supplement s the number of minerals in the supplement, particularly calcium.

As we now know, one of the main reason types of kidney stones is calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate stones.

When there is an excess of calcium over the recommended daily amount, the kidneys are unable to filter the calcium, which leads to the formation of kidney stones.

The more calcium that remains in the body, the greater the likelihood of stone formation and their size.

Hydration Levels

The way that kidneys remove toxins and minerals from the body is through urine. To ensure that filtration is carried out correctly, there is a certain amount of hydration required when there is not enough water in the body and the kidneys function below their best.

Taking a pre-workout supplement can increase the chances of dehydration, as you are taking a powder supplement (mixed with water) and exercising.

If you do not take enough water with your pre-workout supplement, you run the risk of kidney stones forming due to low levels of hydration.


Sometimes, people mistake taking a pre-workout supplement on days that they are not exercising. When you are not working out, the additional substances that you are consuming through the pre-workout supplement can not be effectively used by the body.

These substances need to be filtered through the kidneys, placing an extra strain on them and increasing the chances of kidney stones being formed.


All pre-workout supplements have a recommended dose for their users. These doses can be modified according to your fitness needs.

Of course, when you take excessive amounts of pre-workout beyond the recommended doses or higher than what your trainer has recommended for your fitness needs, you risk the chance of forming kidney stones.

Caffeine Content

Caffeine is a major cause of dehydration; it is also found in numerous pre-workout supplements. The higher your intake of caffeine during the day, the more likely it is that you will experience dehydration.

With dehydration comes reduced urine output and increased precipitation of substances like calcium oxalate.

It is important to keep in mind the amount of caffeine you have already consumed or will consume along with the caffeine in your pre-workout supplement.

This allows you to maintain adequate hydration and reduce the chances of kidney stones forming.

kidney stones

Types of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are not just a single entity; different types of kidney stones can form.

Knowing the type of kidney stone that has formed can assist in the treatment and be used to prevent a reoccurrence, as active measures can be taken for the specific factors causing the stone.

1. Calcium Stones

The mineral calcium forms over 80% of kidney stones. These stones are further divided into two types of calcium stones, calcium phosphate kidney stones, and calcium oxalate kidney stones.

Among these two calcium stone types, calcium oxalate stones are far more common in people who develop kidney stones.

Calcium is a mineral that is naturally present in the bones, as well as a part of people’s daily diet. While this is an essential mineral, an excess of this mineral can easily collect inside the kidneys and form stones.

Oxalate is also a natural substance that the body produces in the liver as well as a part of your diet. The combination of these two substances can lead to kidney stone formation.

2. Struvite Stones

These stones have little to do with mineral content in the body’s fluid. Compared to calcium stones, these are a less common form of kidney stones. Their formation is related to infections of the urinary tract.

Compared to calcium stones, these stones grow much faster and are generally larger.

These stones are formed when infectious bacteria in the urinary tract alter the pH of urine. This decreases the solubility of certain minerals in urine, leading to their accumulation in the kidneys.

These kidney stones are quite large and may even have branches. A person may complain of infectious symptoms such as fever along with symptoms of a kidney stone.

Also read: Can Pre-Workout Supplements Cause UTIs?

3. Uric Acid Stones

Uric acid is a waste product formed from the breakdown of proteins in the body.

The urine has a limited capacity for dissolving uric acid.

When there is an excess of uric acid in the body’s fluid, the crystals precipitate and form crystals. These stones can range from small to large; the more uric acid in your body, the larger the stone can be.

4. Cysteine Stones

Cystine is an amino acid found in a variety of foods and is one of the protein’s building blocks. Cystinuria (excess cystine in the urine) is an uncommon hereditary metabolic condition.

It occurs when cystine is not reabsorbed from the urine by the kidneys. Stones occur when there are excessive levels of cystine in the urine. Childhood is a common time for cystine stones to occur.


Do BCAAs Harm Your Kidneys?

Branched-chain amino acids have the potential to be harmful to the kidneys.

An overabundance of branched-chain amino acids can lead to interference with the functioning of the kidney, which includes a decrease in glomerular filtration rate (GFR), progression of chronic kidney disease, and can even lead to kidney fibrosis.

Can Take Too Much Pre-Workout Cause Kidney Stones?

Yes, taking too much pre-workout can lead to the possibility of kidney stones forming. This is because it causes your kidneys to work harder to filter the additional substances that you have included in your diet through the use of a pre-workout.

How To Prevent Kidney Stone Formation?

There are several different ways in which you can reduce the chances of kidney stones forming. One key way to prevent kidney stones from forming is by maintaining adequate hydration; this keeps the kidneys working at their best.

Ensuring that you take the recommended amount of pre-workout as instructed on the packaging, limiting your intake of proteins and mineral-like calcium to the recommended daily amount.

What Can Other Kidney Problems Be Caused by Pre-Workout?

Kidney stones are just one of the issues that can arise with taking pre-workout supplements. Other issues include a derangement in renal functioning and even a progression of chronic kidney disease.

What Are Symptoms of Having Kidney Stones?

There are many symptoms of kidney stones.

Pain in the upper back region and legs, decreased urine output or painful urination, nausea, and vomiting, fever, and blood in the urine are just a few symptoms that accompany kidney stones.

The development of these symptoms can indicate the presence of kidney stones and should be taken seriously.


While pre-workouts are not the sole reason for kidney stones, they can play a major role in their formation.

By knowing what can lead to stone formation, like poor hydration or overconsumption of pre-workout, these factors can be controlled, and kidney stones prevented.

This can allow you to use pre-workouts safely without the fear of kidney damage, and it also allows you to choose the best pre-workout if you have a pre-existing kidney issue.

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