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Protein Powder Allergy – Allergic Risks

Allergic Risks

Ahh, good ole’ protein powder. So many benefits that come along when consuming such a great supplement. However, we are going to flip the switch on protein powder and analyze some side effects, specifically, a protein powder allergy. Allergic reactions to properties inside of protein powder prohibit many people from taking certain kinds of supplements. We will analyze the most common allergic reactions that could potentially be caused by protein powder. But first…

How Do “Allergic Reactions” Work?

As one of the most common things people suffer from (1 in 5 people in the U.S.A suffer from allergies), allergic reactions are a response from your immune system to a foreign substance. The response triggers are called allergens, many of which include pollen, mold, and especially food.

Protein Powder Allergy - Allergic Risks

An allergic response can vary from being somewhat annoying to being deadly. The severe allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis, taking a toll on your entire body.

Mild Allergic Reaction Symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Watery Eyes
  • Itchy Eyes
  • Runny Nose
  • Fatigue

Anaphylaxis Symptoms:

  • Hives/Itching
  • Tightness in the Throat
  • Wheezing/Shortness of Breath
  • Tingling in hands/feet

Dairy Protein Allergies

Whey and casein protein comes from milk, one of the most allergic reactions causing foods. Many people, not even realizing it, have some sort of intolerance to milk. There are common symptoms when consuming the animal-based protein that varies from person to person. It could be because of the amount of protein powder you consume or just the tolerance of a person’s digestive system.

Protein Powder Allergy - Allergic Risks

What is Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose intolerance could also be a side effect from consuming dairy protein powder, not so much an allergic reaction, however. Lactose is sugar inside of milk, many people can completely consume lactose while others are unable to. Now lactase is an enzyme in your small intestine that helps you digest lactose. Individuals that are lactose intolerant cannot produce enough lactase.

The dairy they had just consumed goes straight into the colon instead of digested by your intestines. Some symptoms that may arise from consuming dairy when lactose intolerant includes…

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea

Vegan Protein Allergies

Unlike whey/casein, vegan protein powders have no dairy. Instead, the powders contain protein sources from several different plants, like peas, brown rice, or even hemp. (If you’d like to know more about vegan protein powder, check out this other article: On Vegan Protein Powder- Better Than Whey? ) Although the sources have a much less chance of allergic reactions, they may still pose as allergies to some people…

Pea Protein

Although uncommon, pea allergies do exist. Peas are actually in the same family as peanuts, a quite allergic reaction causing food. People who are allergic to peanuts have a perfect chance of being allergic to pea protein. I say pea protein because peas are processed when making the supplementation, and it still can cause a reaction when consumed.

Brown Rice Protein

Brown rice protein powder is hypoallergenic, meaning it is rare to have it cause an allergic reaction. It seems like a very well fit protein for anyone…except with individuals allergic to rice. The rice in the protein powder, or any rice for that matter, may cause sneezing, stomachache, asthma, or eczema.

Hemp Protein

Also, being hypoallergenic, hemp protein may cause allergic reactions. The main reason behind this allergy to hemp seeds is that hemp comes from Sativa, the flowering buds atop of the plant. Why is this a problem? Well, the top of a plant begins to contact with pollen, a VERY common allergen.

How To Get Away From These Allergies

If you experience any of the listed symptoms listed here, there are ways of avoiding them…

Switch Protein Powder Brands

The first step into preventing your symptoms is changing where it is coming from. If your particular protein is causing bloating, gassiness, stuffiness, it may be a good idea to switch up your protein brand. Even if the protein powder claims to be high quality, it could be time for a change-up. Experiment with another brand to see what changes, you may even find a new favorite taste.

Switching The Protein Type

If turning the brand of protein doesn’t seem to cut it, it may be the type itself may be the causation of the allergic reactions. If whey or casein appears to be causing some problems, try switching to vegan for a while to see if that does that trick. The same goes for vegan protein going to dairy-based protein. Here are two great examples of a vegan protein and a dairy-based protein powder. 

Vegan: Vega One All-in-One Nutritional Shake

Whey: Bodybuilding.com 100% Signature Whey Protein Powder 

Switching the Protein Amount

If it seems like none of these suggestions have done you any right, it may have to do with the overall amount of protein powder you’re consuming. As hard as it may be, try cutting out some protein powder in your diet to let your stomach completely digest it. It may be that your small intestine isn’t producing enough lactase while you consume too much dairy it cannot even handle. Or for a vegan protein, you’re drinking too much protein that puts your immune system into a frenzy.

Conclusion

In conclusion, protein powder is quite the blessing, but may also be a curse. You can see it as a double-edged sword. In contrast, great for achieving your daily protein intake, it may come with some undesired side effects that some people can handle. In contrast, others have to step away from.

If you have any questions regarding allergies with a specific protein type, feel free to leave it down below, along with any comments you have on the matter.

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20 Comments

  1. RoDarrick

    Hello, excellent overview you have given up here concerning the allergic risks associated with the protein powder and that’s such a nice thing to do. I have suffered great deal from hemp powder. Though I make use of it majorly in line to help cure my anxiety disorder, however, it has not been in line for me at all since my body reacts negatively to it. Getting to understand ones allergies is a great step in the right direction that can help to preserve one’s health. Great post

  2. Carlton

    You know, at first? I thought this article was about hayfever or just allergies in general? Just, from the main photos displayed. I think it might be better to change the pic to photos of someone ingesting protein powder!

    You can even add a few of them. First, one a person drinking the protein powder, second photo side effects and last pic a person on the toilet or in the hospital. Just, a little advice! Thank you and keep up the good work! Your content is excellent. I wish I could write content a lot better. Anyway, great job and have a successful day!

  3. Kelyee

    Hello, I really like your post! At first I thought it was a little to long, but I was wrong! Very easy to read and not long at all. I’m glade I read your post because I didn’t know we could be allergenic to protein powder. Which it’s great that you also mention how to avoid certain ones. I did have a question on the Hemp you were talking about. I’m questioning it because is hemp the only problem or over all cannabis? I want to know because marijuana also includes sativa? So,I’m guessing is indica a better solution?

    • Jose Gallegos

      Hey Kelyee, I’m not too sure what your question is. I am not aware of any protein powder that contains indica because hemp is the main protein source for certain vegan protein powders.

  4. Adyns68

    I really enjoyed reading your post. It is very informative. I have been a vegetarian for sometimes and I have seen people who have never tested an animal protein and tried it for the first time to develop allergic reactions. But it was not clear if was due to the animal protein or anything else they took with the meet.

     Is it possible for someone to be allergic to animal protein and not vegan protein? And if that is the case can the person just continue using the vegan protein?

    Thanks

    • Jose Gallegos

      Hi Adyns68, it is very possible for someone to only allergic to animal protein and not vegan protein. That’s also one of the main reasons vegan protein exists, to eliminate risks of animal protein allergic reactions. If not allergic to any ingredients inside of vegan protein, it should be safe to consume.

  5. AmDetermined

    Your post on protein powder allergy is very educating and helpful because am a patient of allergy but I don’t know the cause and I love drinking milk a lot I learned from your post on the solution by switching the intake of my protein, I have a cousin who also face this problem for this reason am going to share your post on my social media for him and others to also learn because the reaction to the body is not comfortable

    • Jose Gallegos

      Hey AmDetermined, I really appreciate the share on your social media platform! I just love to inform the public about the potential risks (and also benefits) of protein powders.

  6. Joseph Amigo Matonge

    This excellent post is very helpful to many people who have allergies, but are unable to tell the root cause of those allergies. My wife shows signs of anaphylaxis symptoms and this discovery has to be pursued in detail. She suspects certain flowers including wild flowers as causing her discomfort, but being a lover of milk, her stomach may not tolerate lactose digestion. Thank you for sharing.

    • Jose Gallegos

      Hey Joseph, yea anaphylaxis can be pretty serious and is something to be cautious of. It may be because of her lactose intolerance. 

      Of course, I love to share risks and benefits of protein powder.

  7. Hari S Nair

    I have never been in favor of taking protein powder if I ever would want to build muscle I will opt for a diet that will contain a lot of legumes.

    I never knew people can be allergic to food containing a lot of protien, I have known lactouse intolrent people though but I was not aware that people are even allergic to pea and brown rice. “Hypoallergenic” is a new term for me, thanks for informing me about this.

    In the past few days, I have worked a lot losing weight, in the future I might want to gain some weight in form of muscles and I hope I don’t have any allergy of this sort.

    • Jose Gallegos

      Hey Hari,

      A lot of people aren’t in favor of protein powders, but they are much safer than you think! Lactose intolerance is not an allergic reaction as many people may think, it’s just lactose, sugar in milk, sitting in your gut due to lactase not being in abundance to break down lactose. If you want more info, check out this article on lactose intolerance. 

      Are Protein Powders Healthy? – Too Risky?

      If you need weight in the form of muscle, definitely invest in a protein powder.

  8. Iyke

    Its such a shame that a source of unlimited benefit to one set of people can turn out to be a source of problem, and in some sever cases, life-threatening to others.

    Well, as you mentioned, it can be quite difficult to cut out a protein diet altogether. But carrying out some experiments like switching protein brands, types and quantity can be a good way to find a compromise.

    Great post and thanks for sharing

    • Jose Gallegos

      Hey Lyke:

      Without a doubt, protein allergies are the biggest thing to watch out for in a protein powder. It may be a blessing for some, but a curse for others. Experimenting really does help filter out the safe and unsafe protein powders for you.

  9. Kylie

    What a good article! I agree with what you write about allergy.
    I think allergy can occur by many factors, not just from food or protein. Could be due to weather, air, even the immune system that is low and there are idiopatic allergy (allergy with unknown causes).
    Indeed, the thing that most often causes allergy is food. So what we eat must be considered, especially protein content.
    Based on healthlinedotcom, our body’s protein daily needs is 0.8 gram per kilogram of body weight. So, for those who have a body weight of 70 kg requires “at least” 56 grams of protein every day. Because protein is a component / compound that has a major role for the body, such as cell regeneration, cell development and also a source of energy for cells. So, protein should not be missed in your daily life.
    As written, the thing that can be done is to find out the cause of allergy (allergen) from which type of protein, then we changed to another type of protein with a smaller / no allergic effect. I did it as well. I change from meat source to beans.

    By the way, is it possible if allergy can be cured by frequent contact with allergens? 

    • Jose Gallegos

      Hey Kylie,

      Yes, allergies may be caused by more than foods, things in your surrounding environment may also cause problems within your immune system. Protein is very very important, I cannot stress that enough, people don’t realize how essential they are. They go farther than just building muscle. 

      For this, you must be conscious of what type of protein you’re consuming to prevent allergies. Unfortunately, there are no cures for allergies, only ways to contain the effects and reduce the damages to your body. Your body cannot get accustomed to foreign substances if they cause allergic reactions. Thanks for the response!

  10. Shanta Rahman

    Thank you so much for sharing with us such a beautiful article .A very important article I think . Because I also have an allergy problem . However I am unable to say why . And of course, you have to follow this in detail . I suspect some foods are the cause of my inconvenience . There are some vegetables in her . Your article must be appreciated for research on these . Because many people like me are in a difficult position with this problem . Your post on protein powder allergy is very educative and helpful . Allergies are difficult to understand, so a great step in the right direction can help preserve someone’s health, and they taught you this article. Looking forward to some more great articles like this in the future .

    • Jose Gallegos

      Hey Shanta:

      Of course, it’s my pleasure to inform the public about the risks of protein powders, and allergies are a serious one. They are hard to understand from the causes, within your body that deal with foreign substances. The effects must be taken care of appropriately to minimize damage. I’d be happy to continue making fantastic articles!

  11. MrBiizy

    Hello Jose. Thank you for sharing this post on protein powder allergy. I previously read about protein powders in two categories of Dairy Protein Powder and Plant Based Protein Powder which you have covered in this article presenting different names for them.

    I like the fact that you didn’t only bring these allergies to our knowledge but you made solutions available too. Nice job plus this post is educative too.

    Regards!

    • Jose Gallegos

      Hey MrBiizy:

      Of course! It’s my pleasure to be able to inform the public on the allergy risks protein powders carry, it’s worth knowing before harming yourself. 

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