In the last article, What is Whey Protein?, I provided information on what whey protein is and how it is made. I also demystified some common misconceptions around taking whey protein such as “weight gain” and “bulking up”.
Now we know that whey protein can be very beneficial when it is used as dietary supplement. Before you rush out to purchase a huge jar of whey protein though, you need to know some possible whey protein side effects.
I would like to point out here that these possible whey protein side effects are generally applied to large amount of whey protein consumption. People who simply take a scoop or two of whey protein daily, usually under 25-50 grams, should not be overly concerned about these possible whey protein side effects listed below. However, if you start experiencing any unusual symptoms after taking whey protein, stop and see if you get better. Remember to always consult your physician first.
So what are the possible whey protein side effects?
Possible Whey Protein Side Effect #1
Most people who are allergic to milk and dairy products are allergic to casein, the 80% of the milk protein as discussed earlier in the article What is Whey Protein? However, if you are the minority of people who are allergy to whey, obviously taking whey protein would not be a good idea for you.
An alternative option is egg white protein supplement as it still offers you complete protein. For vegetarian or vegans, I have found wonderful organic soy and rice protein supplements available today. You might want to use both soy and rice protein to make your protein intake as complete as possible.
Possible Whey Protein Side Effect #2
Possible Liver Injury
According to a case published by the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, Department of Medicine, Liver Diseases Division, a case of acute cholestatic liver injury is associated with the combination of whey protein and creatine supplement consumption.
The patient, 27-year-old healthy male, an enthusiastic weight lifer, developed the symptoms after taking whey protein for 4 weeks and creatine for 8-9 months.
Please note that this man was taking whey protein in addition to creatine supplement. Therefore, it is not an absolute and isolated case of whey protein consumption.
Possible Whey Protein Side Effect #3
Exacerbate Pre-Existing Kidney Issues
If you already have a pre-existing kidney disease, adding whey protein to your diet might not be right for you. This area definitely requires the supervision of a physician.
Overall, whey protein still ranks high as good source of complete protein. According to an article published in German “Nutritional Physiology of Whey and Whey Components”, it lists whey protein “belongs to the proteins with highest biological value because of their amino acid composition”.
It is important to know that whey protein is not just for protein focused body builders or weight lifters. Vegetarians can greatly benefit from whey protein supplement as well because it provides abundant source of Vitamin B12 that is lacking in most plant-based food.
If you do not have allergy towards whey protein and do not have pre-existing medical conditions, whey protein can be a wonderful addition to a healthy diet. Remember to take whey protein in moderate amount as too much of a good thing can sometimes backfire on our health.
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