Any drinker of protein shakes knows about the outstanding benefits they may provide you with. However, these same people don’t stop to think about the side effects of protein powder. They get too caught up in the glory and magic of what a protein supplement can provide them with, that they overlook all the dangerous aspects of them. Believe it or not, they can be quite hazardous for some people. Some side effects can be so extreme that they can lead to the death of some. I bet that got your attention. Today in this article, we’re answering the question, do protein shakes have side effects? If they do, what are they?
Whey and Casein Protein
Let’s jump right into this thing by talking about the most popular type of protein powder, along with its lesser-known brother. Many of you may have never even heard of casein protein powder. To keep it simple, casein is a slower version of whey protein. I said it’s whey’s brother because they come from the same source, cow’s milk. You see, when milk is being curdled to make cheese, two parts are separated, the solids and the liquids. The solids being cheese, and the liquids being whey and casein. You might be thinking to yourself, “how come casein isn’t as popular as whey?” A lot goes into answering that question, but you’ll find the answer by clicking here to an article I wrote entirely on casein.
There are a lot of positive and beneficial things these two milk brothers can bring you when consuming them. Some of the many benefits include building muscle, sufficing appetite, boosting metabolism, and even burning fat. However, this article isn’t about discussing the good about whey and casein, it’s all about the bad. If bad isn’t good enough for you, we’re talking all about the dangers. Now we’re talking.
For some people, reading the word “milk” makes them cringe due to allergies they may pose with milk. As one of the most popular allergens on the face of the earth, milk may pose a lot of threats to people who are allergic. Now, it’s important not to confuse a milk allergy with being lactose intolerant, they are not the same. Don’t worry, we’ll get to lactose intolerance in a bit. An allergic reaction is a response from your immune system to a foreign or unknown substance in your body. These foreign substances are known as allergens, and they’re a ton out there, you’ll find a huge list of them by clicking here.
You’ll sure as heck find milk on that list, and some of the allergic reactions from milk can’t pose as life-threatening. I wasn’t kidding about some allergic reactions, possibly being fatal. We have symptoms like vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea, bloating, and gassiness that do feel rather uncomforting but are nothing to fright over. These are common side effects that blow over in a couple of hours or a couple of days. However, there are other allergic reactions that are severe code-reds, known an anaphylaxis. Symptoms may include…
- Tightness In Throat
- Puffy Eyes
- Trouble Breathing
- Shortness of Breath
Just the sound of some symptoms can put someone into a panic. Allergic reactions like these require epinephrine pens or EpiPens to calm the reaction. If you don’t have one nearby, the results can be fatal. If you have anaphylaxis allergic reactions to milk, I ask for you to stay as far away from milk as possible. You can take your chances with the less severe allergic reactions, but to key thing here is to stay safe.
Moving on to one of the most common digestive disorders that dates back to the time 460 BCE, lactose intolerance is still as big now as it was back then. It is not classified as an allergic reaction, your immune system has nothing to do with digestion. I like defining this disorder by breaking the word apart. Lactose is the sugar in milk. When we break down and digest milk in our stomach, we’re absorbing lactose. Intolerance means not tolerable or not bearable. So lactose is not tolerable, not tolerable for who? For your stomach, of course.
To break down lactose, we need a unique substance to quickly dissolve lactose for absorption. These substances are known as enzymes, and the specific enzyme we’re talking about here is called lactase. People who produce enough lactose in their bodies can breakdown lactose with no problem, going on with the rest of their day normally. These lucky bunch of people are considered lactose tolerable, you may or may not have heard of it. However, for the individuals who’s bodies don’t produce enough lactase, that can lead to digestion problems.
If not broken down, lactose will just sit in your stomach waiting to get digestive, by anything. If there’s not lactase, bacteria will take charge and begin to ferment the sugar. This is where the problems begin as the digestion is now carried over to the colon, and let me tell you, you don’t want it to be carried over to the colon. If that happens, you begin to experience the known side effects of lactose intolerance. We have bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach, and, last but not least, gassiness. Anyone near you when you got gas from milk is in the danger zone, putting their nostrils at risk.
Damage towards your kidneys is considered a side effect, but it’s a pretty easy one to get around. It’s common to question how protein powders and shakes affect one’s kidneys. “Is it dangerous, should I stop?” The answer, not at all. Chugging down your favorite protein shake will do your kidney no harm; if it’s healthy. A perfectly functioning kidney has nothing to worry about when taking on a protein shake. However, not the same could be said when dealing with an already damaged kidney.
The kidney’s job is to filter our blood and discard any waste our body doesn’t need. Protein is one nutrient that flows in our blood, specifically the amino acids. If there are too many amino acids, the kidney will filter them out as waste. If your kidneys aren’t working in order, the waste will keep piling on, and on, and on. Until your organs get overloaded leading to, yes, your death. These protein shakes don’t mess around, it’s important to know what you’re dealing with. Just remember, if your kidney is in top physical condition, you have nothing to worry about.
Whey and casein are pretty big to cover, especially when talking about their side effects. Their composition makes for a lot of things to about. However, switching over to the greener side of protein shakes, we have our vegan protein shakes. There are a lot of different types of vegan and plant-based protein powder, but they all have most of the same side effects.
Much like they’re rivals, vegan protein powders may pose as allergens when it comes to some people. Three of the most common vegan protein sources are peas, brown rice, and hemp, hence why I’ll be talking about those. Peas are probably the most hypoallergenic foods among the three listed above. Hypoallergenic means it is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. However, it’s still very possible.
Then we have brown rice, which is completely fine if you aren’t allergic to rice, obviously. People who are allergic to rice may experience sneezing, runny noses, asthma, or eczema after consuming rice. Then we have hemp, grown on Sativa plants. The main issue here is that pollen may have contact with Sativa, and we all know what pollen can do for allergic reactions.
Something I didn’t know myself when learning about supplements was their authenticity. Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, protein powders do not have to be approved by the FDA, the Federal Drug Administration. This opens up the gate to a whole bunch of false information for manufactures to put on their labels without getting caught or in trouble for it. Things protein powder companies may lie about may include the protein amount in scoops, the nutrition label, and, most importantly, the ingredients. You could say this consequence goes for both whey and vegan powders, but lying about certain ingredients can pose major concerns to consumers.
Traces of toxic substances like lead and arsenic have been found in these supplements. Imagine looking at the back of a protein powder, thinking maybe artificial flavoring was the worst ingredient, but in reality, it’s lead while you’re completely oblivious to it. It’s a pretty scary realization, which is why protein powders with better reputations should be trusted more than any other company. My personal protein powder is from one of the most trusted companies out there, Bodybuilding.com. They got nothing to hide with their signature whey protein, check it out for yourself here.
Which Is Safer?
After reading all that, you may start to doubt if there does exist any good protein powders. All the side effects out there makes you worry every time you chug your favorite protein shake. However, much like us humans, protein powders aren’t perfect. They pose as potentially life-threatening threats for some people. In contrast, others walk away scot-free without having to worry about a thing. It really depends on what shakes suit your needs and which you can tolerate the best. There may not be a single shake out there that doesn’t cause side effects to your body, which isn’t common.
Some may give you bloating, others may give you gassiness, and some trouble breathing. If you had to deal with one out of the bunch, I just named, which would you pick? If breathing normally is something you like doing, either bloating or gassiness is something you have to deal with. So, do protein shakes have side effects? Absolutely they do, it’s different for everybody, and you just got to find the right one for you. You may find the perfect match on your first buy, or it may be a game of trial and error.
In conclusion, protein shakes do have their share fair of side effects. Some being uncontainable and deadly, while others minor simply causing inconvenience to the consumer. It’s all about picking the right protein powder for you, one you will have no problems when drinking. If problems surface with whatever protein shake you drink, try to pick the one that delivers the least amount of side effects. I found mine a while back, click here to find out which one it is.
Got any questions? Leave them down below, along with any comments you may have on the side effects of protein powder.