Whey Protein Side Effects
Whey protein comes from the liquid that is separated from milk curds when making cheese. It is a rich source of amino acids and minerals, making it an ideal supplement for increasing one’s protein intake. It is popularly used by bodybuilders, athletes, and other active adults to increase their lean body mass and as a source of energy. Although taking too much of a good thing may have its side effects, scientific evidence shows there are now serious side effects to whey protein.
Side Effects of Whey Protein
Many body builders take about 150 grams of whey protein, or up to 1 gram per pound of body weight per day. One can also take it at 1.2-1.5 grams per kilogram body weight. It is considered generally safe when these amounts are used.
Some common but minor side effects of taking whey protein include increased bowel movements, thirst, nausea, cramps, bloating, reduced appetite, tiredness, and headaches. The amount taken may depend on the individual’s goals, but health professionals warn that taking too much may lead to more serious side effects. Most are not proven by scientific evidence, and are based more on theoretical knowledge of the effects of consuming a high protein diet than of whey protein in particular.
Many people suffer from lactose intolerance, which makes them react to milk with symptoms like diarrhea, flatulence, and abdominal pain. These people may also develop similar allergic reactions when consuming whey protein concentrates since whey is also taken from milk. However, the lactose content in whey protein is much less, and reactions, if any, are often not as severe.
There are also two types of whey protein which do not contain any lactose – whey protein isolates and whey protein hydrolysates. Using these types of whey protein can therefore minimize any potential allergic reactions .
Some medical professionals warn that taking large quantities of protein supplements such as whey protein for a long time can cause damage to the kidneys. No medical research has been conducted to support these concerns, although people who already have severe kidney disease or chronic renal failure are advised not consume a high- protein diet because their kidneys may not be able to handle the elimination of the products of its metabolism.
Some people believe that a high protein diet may lead to liver damage. However, contrary to fears that taking whey protein regularly may cause liver damage, it has been observed that it has beneficial effects to people with viral hepatitis and other liver conditions. This is because of its glutathione content which can boost immunity and improve stamina. It must be remembered, though, that whey protein will not reverse liver damage
Another touted side effect of whey protein which has never been proven is the onset of osteoporosis or bone weakness. The explanation behind this is that consumption of protein in high amounts leads to an imbalance of minerals in the bones which can cause loss of bone density, leading to osteoporosis.
However, whey protein contains lactoferrin which promotes bone growth and helps increase the number and types of bone cells called osteoblasts. It has also been found that basic milk protein, a mixture of some of the proteins found in whey protein, may improve bone formation and increase bone density.
In summary, when taken in appropriate amounts, whey protein is generally safe to use and beneficial to health. Although these supplements may cause occasional minor side effects, no evidence exists on any serious adverse effects.
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