Milk is made up of two proteins: casein and whey. Whey protein can be separated from the casein in milk or obtained as a by-product in cheese making. Whey protein is considered a complete protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids.
There are many benefits associated with consuming whey protein, and researchers are constantly discovering new potential therapeutic properties. Here we explain the benefits and look at some of the side effects and potential risks.
Whey Protein Facts:
- Many of the potential merits are based on few studies, and more evidence is needed before a definitive assessment can be made.
- Whey protein is a mixture of beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, bovine serum albumin, and immunoglobulins.
- Potential hazards include nausea and headache, but whey protein is not considered hazardous in moderation.
Possible Whey Protein Benefits:
- Promotes weight loss.
- Promotes an increase in lean body mass.
- Helps treat cancer.
- Help reduce symptoms associated with HIV.
- Helps increase the level of glutathione in the body.
- Helps lower triglyceride levels in the body.
- It helps lower your cholesterol levels while raising your good cholesterol, or HDL, at the same time.
- Helps improve the functioning of the immune system.
- It helps to increase strength during training.
- It helps shorten recovery time and reduce symptoms of overtraining.
What is Protein Powder?
Protein powders are powdered forms of proteins derived from plants (soy, peas, rice, potatoes, or hemp), eggs, or milk (casein or whey protein). Powders can include other ingredients such as added sugar, artificial flavors, thickeners, vitamins, and minerals. The amount of protein in a single scoop can vary from 10 to 30 grams. Supplements used to build muscle contain relatively more protein, while supplements used to lose weight are relatively less.
How is Whey Protein Made?
The best grass-fed whey protein on the planet actually comes from the best cheesemakers. While many brands talk about whey protein, which is a “by-product” of the cheese-making process, this idea is far from the truth if it means bad or cheap protein.
In many countries, such as the United States, there have been periods when Concentrated Feed Factories (CAFOs) abandoned national milk supplies, essentially creating a low-demand supply of adequate supply. When this happens, cheesemakers choose bedding.
As a cheesemaker, you want the best, so buy the purest grass-fed whey. When the market has a choice of throwing away the rest of the milk or selling it for a pittance to brands that produce what the industry calls “native whey,” the choice is simple. The milk used for the production of “Natural Whey” is usually CAFO milk, which is not required for production for several reasons of quality.
22 Harmful Side Effects Of Whey Protein
1. Kidney Problems
If you have kidney problems, avoid whey protein. This can worsen kidney problems. It can also cause kidney stones. To counteract this side effect, it is recommended that you consume enough fiber and water in your diet. Whey protein intake has been shown to affect kidney function negatively. In a 2011 study, those who consumed whey protein during the experiment experienced increases in plasma urea, urine volume, and urinary calcium excretion, while urine citrate pH decreased. In fact, it indicates increased stress on the kidneys, which is the first step towards kidney disease.
2. Unwanted Fat Gain
Many whey protein powders contain added sugar, which increases your carbohydrate intake. Some of them may also have added fat. So instead of increasing your protein intake to burn more calories, you may end up eating more calories than your total caloric needs.
Studies have not found a direct link between the development of gout and the consumption of whey protein. However, it has been observed that the consumption of whey protein in your diet for gout makes your condition worse. If you have a family history of gout, it is best to consult your doctor before using whey protein.
4. Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
If you are a patient with heart disease, make sure you always consume whey protein at the indicated dose. Exceeding this dose can cause cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac arrest, and possibly even complete loss of cardiac function.
Continuous excessive consumption of whey protein can cause imbalances in bone minerals. An imbalance can lead to decreased bone density, leading to osteoporosis. This disorder is associated with excessive consumption of whey protein which could be dangerous with long-term protein intake. Consuming large amounts of whey protein can cause bone mineral imbalances, which in turn can lead to depletion of bone mineral density.
6. Hike in Blood Acidity Level
Whey protein intake raises the pH level in our blood. Our kidneys have a hard time absorbing this excess protein. As a result, our blood becomes more acidic.
A high protein, low carbohydrate diet uses the energy of burning protein in the absence of sufficient body fat. Ketosis is a condition in which an abnormal amount of ketone bodies builds up in the blood. Ketosis puts tremendous pressure on the functioning of the liver and can damage it over time.
8. Wheezing and Facial Swelling
People with lactose intolerance may experience shortness of breath and develop allergic reactions such as wheezing, swelling of the lips/mouth / throat, etc. If you notice any of these symptoms occur, see your doctor immediately.
9. Unbalanced Nutrition Consumption
When you consume natural protein, you can do so with other nutrients, but it is still healthier than protein supplements. Whey protein powder is processed and disrupts our body’s natural diet.
10. Whey and the Microbiome
While physical activity can increase the number of “good bacteria” in the gut, supplementing with whey can counteract these beneficial effects. A 2018 study that looked at athletes who were especially supplemented with whey protein found a participant’s beneficial bacteria decreased, and the harmful bacteria increased.
When the balance changes and a person’s microbiome contains too many “bad bacteria,” the person may experience unpleasant symptoms such as severe and chronic bloating, constipation, stomach pain, gas, and other gastrointestinal ailments. Athlete or not, no one wants to fight these terrible feelings every day.
11. Whey Protein and Acne
It’s not uncommon to see a teenage bodybuilder with a face full of red, raised pimples. Many young fitness enthusiasts have a whey protein mentality and exacerbate their teenage skin problems as a result. Unfortunately for whey protein consumers, breakouts often don’t stop after puberty.
The researchers suspect this correlation may be due to the fact that milk and dairy products contain the growth-promoting hormone IGF-1, which is positively associated with “increased estrogenic factors associated with acne.” Although whey protein does not contain IGF-1, foods containing this protein usually do. Even protein supplements often contain milk powder or other derivatives. You don’t need to invest in expensive, skin-damaging treatments to treat severe acne. For most, this is as easy as leaving the milk behind.
12. Problems with Digestion
Most of the side effects of whey protein are related to digestion. Some people have whey protein digestion problems and symptoms such as bloating, gas, stomach cramps, and diarrhea, but most of these side effects are due to lactose intolerance. Lactose is the main carbohydrate in whey protein. People with lactose intolerance do not produce enough lactase enzyme, which your body needs to absorb lactose.
In addition, lactose intolerance is extremely common and can affect up to 75% of people worldwide. If you are lactose intolerant, try switching to whey protein isolate powder. Whey Protein Isolate is more refined and contains significantly less fat and lactose than Whey Protein Concentrate. People with lactose intolerance can often safely take whey protein isolate. Another option is to try a non-dairy protein powder like soy, pea, egg, rice, or hemp protein.
13. Allergic to Whey Protein
Since whey protein comes from cow’s milk, people who are allergic to cow’s milk may be allergic to it. However, cow’s milk allergy is very rare in adults, as up to 90% of people with cow’s milk allergy will outgrow it by the age of three. Symptoms of a cow’s milk allergy may include hives, rashes, swelling of the face, swelling of the throat and tongue, and a runny or stuffy nose. In some cases, an allergy to cow’s milk can cause anaphylaxis, a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction.
Again, it’s worth remembering that cow’s milk allergy is rare in adults but can have serious consequences. Also, whey protein allergy should not be confused with lactose intolerance. Most allergies occur when the body produces an immune response to a protein.
However, the intolerance is caused by a deficiaency of enzymes and does not affect the immune system. If you are allergic to cow’s milk protein, try a non-dairy protein powder such as soy, pea, egg, rice, or hemp protein. If you are unsure whether your symptoms are caused by allergies or intolerances, it is best to consult your doctor.
14. Constipation and Nutritional Deficiencies?
Constipation is not a normal side effect of whey protein. In some people, lactose intolerance can cause constipation due to slowed bowel movements. However, constipation is more likely when people eat fewer fruits and vegetables in favor of whey protein, especially when they eat a low-carb diet. Fruits and vegetables are a great source of fiber, which can help promote stool formation and promote regular bowel movements.
If you suspect that whey protein is causing you constipation, make sure you eat enough fruits and vegetables. You can also try taking soluble fiber supplements. Another reason why replacing whole foods with whey is a bad idea is that it can increase your risk of nutritional deficiencies. Whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables, are rich in nutrients and contain many minerals needed for optimal health. This is why it is important to follow a balanced diet when taking whey protein.
15. Fatigue and Weakness
Due to the digestive problems that some people suffer from when consuming whey protein, they can also experience side effects such as extreme tiredness and weakness. They can also suffer from bloating, gas, cramps, etc. This is due to the fact that the body of some people cannot process or break down the protein they consume.
Another side effect of excessive whey protein intake is diarrhea. This is part of the effect this protein has on the digestive system. There may even be blood in the stool, especially in infants.
17. Drug Interactions
If you are taking medication for osteoporosis, it is extremely prudent for you not to consume whey protein, as this can reduce the absorption of the medication. Whey protein can also interact with antiplatelet drugs, anticoagulants, and NSAIDs, increasing the risk of bleeding.
There is a long list of drug interactions to study before taking protein supplements. Recommended controlled intake of protein supplements is good. Problems arise when you overdo it. It’s best to check with your doctor before placing expensive protein supplements on your kitchen shelf.
18. May Increase the Risk of Cancer
The probable heavy metals in some brands of protein powders may increase the risk of cancer. But this is only a vague possibility. Other research shows how whey protein can shrink tumors and prevent cancer from spreading. Therefore, check with your dietitian about this.
19. May Cause Dehydration
Research shows that a high protein diet can cause dehydration. Some research suggests that people on a high-protein diet should drink plenty of water.
20. Hair Loss
Our hair is made up of keratin, which is a protein. So it makes sense to get more protein, right? Well, maybe not. This is because whey protein is known to increase testosterone levels, which are produced in the blood by a chemical called DHT. This chemical can often cause hair loss.
It simply means that it is not a protein that causes hair loss but a chemical that is produced in the process. Even lifting excess weight can lead to increased testosterone levels and subsequent hair loss. Therefore, you should also focus on aerobic exercise.
21. Heavy Metal Poisoning
Few researches claims that protein powders are associated with harmful heavy metals such as arsenic and lead. Needless to say, long-term consumption of excess protein supplements can make you sick. A person who uses protein supplements may experience exhaustion and other problems, especially if they have symptoms of diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
22. Disorders of Hormones
Hormonal disruption is a major concern when it comes to soy and whey blend-based protein supplements. Although soy is rich in essential amino acids, it is also rich in phytoestrogens. When ingested, phytoestrogen mimics estrogen and can cause your endocrine system to roll on a roller coaster. Not to mention, up to 95% of the soy used to make protein supplements is genetically modified.
Genetically modified soy contains a chemical called glyphosate, which is responsible for hormonal imbalances, miscarriages and even birth defects in newborns. Daidzein and genistein found in soy can cause erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, and breast enlargement in men.
Protein is definitely important. In fact, it is a brick of life. But taking it in excess is not recommended. So, check your protein intake. Make sure you get enough of it, but don’t overdo it. However, what constitutes such a high level is typically easy for most athletes. One heaping scoop of Muscle Milk Protein Powder contains 25 grams of whey protein. If the athlete’s usual practice is to pour a copious spoonful of powder into his shaker only once, they will move to the border. Do this before and after your workout and think about any whey-based or other dairy-based bars you consume throughout the day that is far in excess of your normal amount.
Whey protein is not needed for “bulking” and there is no need to risk side effects. More research is needed, and until then, we really don’t know to what extent this protein can harm our bodies. In truth, it could be even worse than these initial results. Those taking these supplements may not feel the effects now, but given the complications of liver and kidney function, they may fall prey to serious health problems later in life.