I've had quite the journey in making my way here, some shocking things happen to my health over just the past year. It is quite long, but a worthwhile experience to read.
To begin, I started bodybuilding to get bigger and in general just look more aesthetic. Reading forums and articles that were just filled with broscience recommended you take in as much protein as you can. "1.5g per lb? sure that's OK, but why not 2 per lb" seemed the general consensus around. To top it all off, people recommended taking a few servings from protein shakes to achieve that figure easily. Nothing I ate was organic and very little was from plant food.
I saw great progress, I was putting on mass and cutting fat at an alarming rate. I then did a 5 week cycle of an oral steroid (Hdrol, a mildly methylated one.) I'll be the first to admit that it was not the smartest idea, but I believe it was not the main culprit in my downfall.
So there I am, fresh off my cycle, weighing in at approximately 190 lbs and around 10% body fat. Needless to say, I felt I was on top of the world. Then it all came crashing down. A couple weeks after finishing the cycle, I started to see some yellowing of the eyes. Shocked, I ran to the doctor had my blood done and saw that my AST ALT liver enzymes were highly elevated each around 260-270 (while the normal range is 0-50.) In the next 3 months, it got worse. My billirubin reached a high of 44!! Not only did I look awful, like I was simpson's character, but with that high of a bilirubin the itching is so bad that you lie awake at night wanting to rip your skin off.
Throughout this time, I maintained a high protein intake, I'd say never below 1.25 gram per lb. My GI doctor was fairly useless to be honest. He just sent me for bloodwork every other day and had no changes to recommend and just wanted to jump to a liver biopsy and then do a liver transplant if needed. Mind you, I was 21 years old. I was petrified of the thought, and was at that point willing to do anything so I finally caved in to my wonderful girlfriend who took me to a holistic doctor (who I owe my life to.) This doctor put me on a cleanse to detoxify and changed my diet by severely limiting my protein and putting me on a raw diet; I had maybe 30g of protein on a high day. At first, I was quite skeptical but at that point was willing to try anything.
The results? Only two months later my billirubin which was in the 40s was down to 2. My liver enzymes? They were in the low 20s high teens (acceptable range 0-55, previous highs were around 260.) The rate at which my health came back was remarkable.
Happy ending/lesson learned right? Wrong. As soon as my jaundice symptoms dissappeared, I figured I could train and eat the way I did before and I simply blamed the stuff I just went through on the oral steroids, that was the easy thing to do. So, here I am, three weeks back into it eating not as much protein but close to 220g (I went back down to 160lbs.) I was gaining my muscle back and was happy and just told myself "hey, you see, it was the oral steroid."
Randomly, I just decided to get my blood work done again, and was stunned by the results. Just by increasing the protein intake (I took no other supplements) my liver enzymes had shot back up AST ALT were back up into the 80s and even my billirubin increased from 2 to 3. At that moment, it clicked for me. It was just my diet all along. I know that the oral steroid did not help the matter in the first case but I am convinced that the major damage was done by the ridiculously high protein non organ/plant diet I had been on.
Since then, I had switched to an organic vegan diet (I still have my protein, but not in exuberant amounts maybe 80-90g a day approximately .5g per lb) and what do you think happened to my health? Within a couple of weeks, billirubin down into its normal range for the first time in a year or so, and my liver enzymes were in the lower teens.
I know this was a long winded post, but I hope you all find some value from it, especially the younger members whom like I was might be under the misconception that you need ridiculous amounts of protein to grow. You don't, you simply don't. I've been growing and putting mass on with 90g a day max. It's simply not worth it, and I am appalled at the thought of how many other individuals or aspiring bodybuilders out there might be doing the damage to their liver and kidneys that I did to mine. I was lucky, I fixed the situation before it was too late, others might not be so lucky so I just would like to spread the word, and if it helps one person I would be satisfied.
Anyways, that is why I am here. I look forward to contributing to this community.