RhabdomylosisThe skeletal muscle is called” rhabdymo” in Greek. In rhabdomylosis the skeletal muscles breaks down rapidly. The process of destruction leads to the release of breakdown byproducts of damaged muscle cells into the bloodstream. The protein myoglobin, which is one of these byproducts, is harmful to the kidneys and can lead to kidney dysfunction.

Any muscle damage can eventually lead to rhabdomyolosis. We have already evidence of the disease amongst the victims of the World War II air raids and it has recently become common with extreme athletics.

There are two types of rhabdomyolosis

1.  Physical  Rhabdomyolosis

Can be confined to any part of the body or only affects the muscles- might be a traumatic compression of muscles causes by an earthquake, car accident or any other event.

2.  Non-Physical Rhabdomyolosis

Might be the result of intrinsic muscle enzyme deficiencies, which are normally inherited. Might be the result (amongst many other possibilities) of an infection, viral (Epstein-Barr, Coxsackie) influence, abnormal thyroid or kidney function, heavy metal poisoning, drug abuse, autoimmune disease or medication.

What are the Symptoms and Causes?

Many symptoms are unspecific and will depend on how severe the damage is and how much the kidney is affected. Symptoms may include muscle pain, vomiting and confusion. The release of muscle tissue into the bloodstream will result in electrolyte imbalance which in turn may lead to severe heart problems. We occasionally may see compartment syndrome (or a complication called DIC), which is a severe disruption in blood clotting.

Rhabdomylosis may be caused by any crush trauma to the body, by extreme physical exercise (esp. when dehydrated), electrical shock and extremes in body temperature or anesthesia.


After the physician has specified the diagnosis through various blood tests to see the condition of the kidney and liver (and potentially high potassium levels and low calcium levels), he/she will suggest the appropriate treatment. In milder forms the muscle symptom diagnosis will be done by blood test. In severe forms the treatment will focus on edema, low blood pressure and shock.

  • Follow physician’s dietary guidelines for kidney, liver and heart health.
  • Focus the diet on muscle-building protein shakes, balanced multivitamins, restoring of the intestinal flora and a special diet and supplementation for kidney, liver and heart health
  • Follow the acid /alkaline-forming food guidelines.
  • Consume lots of fiber: whole grains, organic vegetables and fruits (no citrus fruits) raw nuts and seeds, especially sesame seeds.
  • Protein sources should be low fat mainly vegetarian (soy and legumes). Animal fats should be avoided; virgin olive oil is beneficial.
  • Beverages should include room temperature purified water with a dash of fresh lemon juice.

Important supplements to start with are:

1. Promix Grass-fed Whey Protein

Needed for healthy cell and muscle building. Read Alex Swanson’s analysis of the best and worst whey protein powders here.
Amount: 1 serving after workouts

2. Heed

Read Alex Swanson’s analysis of the best and worst electrolyte drinks here.

Needed to keep balanced electrolytes.
Amount: Use when exercising

3. Thorne’s Basic Nutrients 2 a day

Multi-mineral base and methylated b-vitamins needed for a healthy metabolism and breakdown of food for energy to the muscles.

Important for keeping inflammation down

4. C-Salts Buffered Vitamin C

Important for collagen and connective tissue


Dr. Annemaria Ballin. Personal Communication. April 27th 2011

Print Friendly, PDF & Email