Protein Powder Allergy - Allergic Risks
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Protein Powder Allergy – Allergic Risks

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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.