Whey protein is one of the most widely used supplements worldwide. However, despite its numerous health advantages, there is still debate over its safety. Some people believe that consuming too much whey protein might harm their kidneys and liver and induce osteoporosis.
This article examines the safety and side effects of whey protein using scientific research. Have you ever had stomach or other problems that you thought were caused by your protein supplement? If that’s the case, you’re not alone.
When using whey protein supplements, it’s common to feel some stomach discomfort of varying degrees of intensity. If this sounds like you, you might be wondering if your sensitivity is caused by one of the following factors.
- Allergy to Whey Protein
- Lactose sensitivity or intolerance
- The whey’s quality and digestibility
- While whey protein provides several health advantages, it also has its own set of adverse effects, which vary based on the above factors.
We’ll go over all you need to know about whey protein side effects and possible sensitivities in this detailed guide. Let’s begin at the very beginning.
What is Whey Protein?
Whey protein is a form of protein that accounts for around 20% of the proteins in milk. Milk’s macronutrient makeup comprises two forms of protein, as you may know. Whey and casein are the proteins in question. Whey protein makes up the remaining 20% of the milk protein volume, whilst caseins make up around 80%.
Whey is extremely useful since it contains a wide spectrum of vital amino acids that are quickly absorbed by the body. Whey protein is used by many bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness enthusiasts to help them lose weight, develop strength, and grow muscle.
How is Whey Protein Made?
The greatest grass-fed whey protein comes from the top cheese manufacturers in the globe. Although many businesses refer to whey protein as a “by-product” of the cheese-making process, nothing could be farther from the truth if it is a terrible or low-cost protein.
In many nations, such as the United States, there are times when Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) skew the national milk supply, resulting in a surplus of milk with little demand to match. When this happens, the cheese producers have first dibs on the best.
You want the finest as a cheesemaker, so you buy the cleanest grass-fed whey you can find. When the market can discard the excess milk or sell it for pennies to manufacturers who manufacture “native whey,” the decision is simple. The milk used to generate “Native Whey” is usually milk from CAFOs, which no manufacturer wants for various quality reasons.
Side Effects of Whey Protein
While we at AGN Roots regard whey protein to be a superfood and relatively safe to take, some people may experience negative effects for various reasons. When determining if the health advantages exceed any negative effects your system may have, the decision is totally up to you.
The following is a list of possible whey protein side effects that you may encounter while on your whey protein journey:
Many individuals are unaware that whey protein concentrates contain carbs in sugar and range in protein content from thirty to eighty percent. When purchasing whey protein concentrates, it’s important to consider the other macronutrients in addition to the protein concentration.
This is especially true if you are drawn to protein powders that have a dessert-like flavor. Because rich, luxurious tastes are the greatest at hiding any unpleasantness normally associated with low-quality whey protein powders, many protein powders taste like popular sweets.
In the incorrect climate, whey protein powder will function like baking soda in your refrigerator. The smells and moisture in the air will naturally attract powdered dry protein. Even if the air is better, that whey might wind up smelling and tasting like copper.
When you commit to a completely flavored plastic tub of dessert-tasting whey powder, the impact on a sensitive stomach is twofold. To generate a popular flavor like a chocolate brownie or peanut butter, flavored items are laden with natural and artificial sugars and additional chemicals.
The deep rich tastes can now hide sour whey or whey that is full of contaminants, exposing harsh and disagreeable notes that need to be hidden. Make sure you count macros appropriately if your stomach holds up and you don’t have to purge your vanilla sherbet sugar powder. Your protein supplement’s advantages may no longer be worth the cost to your health.
One of the best things about whey protein, and honestly, dairy protein in general, is how easy it is to digest. High-quality grass-fed whey protein has a perfect grade of one hundred percent when stated in percentage terms. Oat protein, for example, is in the 90% tier, similar to other carbohydrates in that category such as corn and rice.
The degree to which macronutrients find their way through the gastrointestinal tract is represented by the high digestibility score for whey protein powder. The efficacy of these two independent activities is recognized by most as “bioavailability” or “biological value,” and it is the efficacy of these two independent actions that makes up the measure known by most as “bioavailability” or “biological value.”
The “Protein Digestibility-Correct Amino Acid Score” of whey protein is a scale where protein digestibility is given as a whole number.
Some scientists feel that whey protein consumption might help lower blood pressure. According to research published in the International Daily Journal, whey protein helps individuals with stage-1 hypertension lower their systolic blood pressure significantly. Whey beverages also reduced total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, according to the same research.
Every research that shows the advantages of whey protein on the heart, like the Yin and Yang, has research that concludes adversely. However, most of the studies that indicate arterial plaque formation in rats on high-protein, high-fat diets are unable to bridge the gap to safely draw a link to an active person using whey protein for exercise recovery or general health.
Increased Acidity in the Blood
Your blood has an optimal pH that is somewhat basic, which is not well recognized. Your system is running efficiently and working in a successful setting when the pH of your blood is between 7.35 and 7.45.
Eating acidic meals lowers the pH of your blood, whereas eating more alkaline meals raises the pH of your blood to more basic levels. This is why eating a well-balanced diet is so important for long-term health.
We use a rule of thumb in the AGN Roots Protein Calculator design to restrict your whey protein supplement allocation in relation to other sources to 35% or less.
Whey protein powder derived from milk from animals kept in limited animal feeding facilities can be quite acidic. As a result, the pH level in the blood may drop. However, high-quality grass-fed whey provides a pH-balanced protein supply.
Whether too much whey protein is detrimental for the kidneys has long been a source of debate among dieticians. True, when the kidneys digest whey protein, acidic waste builds up on the kidneys, which is subsequently cleared and discharged by the urine through typical healthy renal function. There is no evidence that “acidosis” is a typical side effect of ingesting whey protein when an individual’s renal function is normal and healthy and they keep hydrated.
When using a protein supplement, it’s critical to keep your water levels up. Acidosis as a result of too much protein consumption happens when the kidneys are overwhelmed, which is a major discussion topic among dieticians. When athletes are severely dehydrated, the acids released by the kidneys are no longer eliminated effectively by urine.
Weakness and Exhaustion
When you consume whey protein, you may notice not only digestive issues but also muscle growth and weakening and weariness. This impact is related to the underlying quality of the whey as well as your body’s digestion capabilities and restrictions. Both of these limiters deplete your energy reserves, forcing you to focus all of your efforts on breaking down the contents of your stomach.
It’s all about the quality: The numerous needless chemicals, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives present in conventional plastic tub whey supplements are one cause of regular weariness.
Manufacturers of bars and protein biscuits are the worst offenders when it comes to utilizing low-grade whey protein concentrate. It’s natural to conclude the quality isn’t there when the ultimate result is a thoroughly cooked meal copy with more chemicals than protein.
Bloating and fullness are likely to occur when the body needs to expend a lot of energy to break down the highly processed stabilizers and gums included in processed whey products. It’s only a matter of time until you start to feel weak and tired.
Digestive Capabilities: Dairy proteins may be rejected by your body in general. There are various signs that your body isn’t breaking down whey protein properly; these signs all share the characteristics of chronic inflammation:
- Production of mucus
- Swelling of the airways
- Nose congestion
- Throat constriction
If you have been having this type of reaction to whey and casein powdered supplements, following these steps as a general solution may help you figure it out.
- Change brands and go with a certified origin source.
- Purchase a naked whey or plain whey version and add your own sweeteners and tastes.
- Make the decision to attempt a plant-based treatment. Despite the fact that AGN Roots does not now provide this sort of product, we enthusiastically suggest the Garden of Life brand.
Development of Ketones
Another typical negative effect of whey protein supplementation is the lack of a well-balanced diet. Protein supplements can undoubtedly satisfy your hunger; nevertheless, it is vital that it be used in conjunction with a well-balanced, well-planned diet.
Many people adhere to the ketogenic diet, which focuses on eating a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. For energy, your body turns to fat breakdown. When the body begins to metabolize fats, ketones begin to accumulate in the liver.
Returning to the previous point about acidic blood, ketones produced by the liver are very acidic and will reduce the ph balance of your circulation. This acidic build-up of ketones isn’t adequately eliminated from the body if you don’t drink enough water.
As a result, your liver is put under a great deal of strain. It can also cause liver issues if left unattended for a lengthy length of time. On the other hand, if you aren’t on a ketogenic diet and your body starts manufacturing ketones, your body will use the protein in your muscles to generate energy.
When blood sugar levels fall, the pancreas tells the body to make glucose from glycogen breakdown in the muscles, which is a nightmarish scenario for any ambitious athlete looking to grow bulk and lean muscle.
This is it if you’ve ever wondered what “bulk season” is all about. Bulking season is when an athlete tries to gain weight while ensuring that the only energy ingested is easily available glucose from carbs. This technique proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the body is not working against your aims of gaining additional muscle mass.
Can You Have Whey Protein If You Are Lactose Intolerant?
If you know you have lactose intolerance, you might be wondering if you can eat whey.
To better understand if you can handle whey protein with your present level of lactose intolerance, you must first grasp what lactose intolerance is and whether or not whey protein is the problem.
What Is Lactose Intolerance?
Lactose intolerance affects over 75% of the world’s population. Dairy products are off the table as a dietary source of protein macros for most self-identified lactose sensitivity sufferers. Lactose intolerance is a digestive condition.
Lactose intolerance makes it difficult to break down lactose, the primary carbohydrate present in dairy products and by-products.
What are the signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance?
The following are some of the symptoms of lactose intolerance:
- Abdominal cramping
What is Lactase?
Lactase is the missing functioning enzyme in lactose intolerance sufferers. This enzyme, which is located in the small intestine, breaks down lactose in dairy products so that the sugar may be digested and used.
Lactose concentrations in foods, particularly dairy, might be difficult for people who don’t have enough of this enzyme in their bodies. Lactose intolerance symptoms can range from moderate to severe, and they can appear and disappear at any time in a person’s life for a variety of causes.
Is It Possible To Consume Whey Protein While Also Suffering From Lactose Intolerance?
Whey protein is lactose-free. Depending on the type of whey protein you’re eating, the amount of lactose that causes a response may or may not be there.
Whey Protein Concentrate is a kind of protein that comes from cow’s milk. If lactose is a concern or uncertainty while considering a whey protein supplement, WPI is the way to go.
WPI is subjected to rigorous processing, according to a prevalent fallacy propagated by WPC brands. When it comes to processing, the only difference between WPC and WPI is how long the wet whey spends cycling through the cold-pressed active system. Wet whey from AGN Roots Grass-Fed Whey is filtered via a 125-micron cold-pressed filter until the whey content is around 93 percent.
It’s also important to remember that lactose sensitivity isn’t the same as having full-blown milk or whey allergy. Athletes who are compatible with specialized whey protein supplements are prevalent; yet, they are very allergic to whole milk.
It’s important to remember that an allergy is a form of immunological reaction. Lactose intolerance refers to your body’s ability to break down lactose in the small intestine; unlike an allergy, it isn’t life-threatening. Also, because lactose levels change between brands, you may need to try a variety of whey isolates to discover the optimum one for your unique sensitivity threshold.
Lactose intolerance and whey allergy are not the same thing. You may or may not be allergic to whey if you have a cow’s milk allergy.
Your immune system will go into overdrive to defend you from damage during an allergic response. As a result, when you have an allergic response, your immune system will generate antibodies, creating physical symptoms. To put it another way, your body launches an attack on the thing you’ve ingested.
How Do You Know If You Are Allergic To Whey?
If you have a whey allergy, you may not have a significant allergic reaction the first time you eat whey. If your body has been sensitive to whey, you may have a negative reaction if you come into touch with it again in the future.
That individual’s particular circumstances determine the way a person reacts to a whey allergy. When some persons come into contact with whey protein, they have severe responses such as a rash or hives on their skin.
Others may suffer hives or irritation on their skin after coming into touch with whey. If you have an allergic response to your skin, you may notice that it swells up and gets itchy.
An Allergic Reaction to Whey
People who have an allergy to whey protein may have the following symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Eyes that are watering
- Eyes that are bright red
- Sneezing & Coughing
You may also feel the following symptoms when your body begins to absorb the whey protein:
- Stomach pain
- Cramps in the stomach
- Diarrhea & Gas
If you have a severe whey protein allergy, you may notice that your neck tightens, and your breathing gets obstructed. Anaphylactic responses, which are life-threatening, occur when severe responses occur, as stated.
If you encounter any of the symptoms described above, always consult your doctor. While it’s possible that you don’t have a whey protein allergy, another substance in your whey protein powder might be the source of your allergic response. The best method to safeguard your health is to talk it out and get a full food allergy evaluation from a medical specialist.
Whey Protein and Stomach Discomfort
Many people have reported stomach distress after consuming whey protein. Upset stomachs are fairly prevalent, and as we’ve already mentioned, the majority of the negative effects of whey protein consumption are connected to digestive issues.
Some people have difficulty digesting whey protein, resulting in symptoms including diarrhea, gas, stomach cramps, and bloating. This might also be the result of undigested lactose passing through your small intestine.
If you have stomach troubles after eating whey protein, you should try switching to whey protein isolate. Whey protein isolate is a kind of whey protein that has been purified further. You will be significantly less exposed to the amounts of lactose and fat that may trigger your body’s unwanted reactions if you stick to WPI.
Whey protein is a safe protein that a wide range of people may consume. Those with lactose intolerance may experience stomach issues, and those sensitive to cow’s milk may also be allergic to it. If you’re having trouble with side effects, consider whey protein isolate or a non-dairy protein substitute.
Despite these drawbacks, whey protein is one of the most effective supplements available. A number of studies have supported its favorable benefits in strength and muscle growth, recuperation, and weight reduction.