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Does Too Much Whey Protein Cause Side Effects?

Whey protein is one of the most popular supplements on the planet, but despite its health benefits there is some controversy surrounding its safety. So in this video I’m doing an evidence-based review of whey proteins’ safety and side effects. (chimes ringing) Whey is actually the liquid part of cow’s milk that separates during cheese production.
It’s a complete source of protein and really effective at stimulating muscle growth and recovery. However it can have some side effects which we’ll look at now. It may cause digestive issues. Most of whey protein side effects are related to digestion. Some people have problems digesting whey protein and experience symptoms such as bloating, gas, stomach cramps and diarrhea. But most of these side effects are related to lactose intolerance.
Lactose is the main carb in whey protein. People who are lactose intolerant don’t produce enough of the enzyme lactase, which your body needs to digest lactose. Lactose intolerance is actually incredibly common and can affect up to 75% of people worldwide. If you are lactose intolerant, try switching to whey protein isolate instead which is almost all protein and contains hardly any lactose.
Some people may be allergic to whey protein. Because whey protein comes from cow’s milk, people with a cow’s milk allergy may be allergic to whey protein. Nevertheless, cow’s milk allergies are actually very rare in adults since up to 90% of people with cow’s milk allergies outgrow them by the age of three. An allergy to cow’s milk should not be confused with lactose intolerance that I just mentioned before.
Symptoms of a cow’s milk allergy include hives, rashes, facial swelling, and even tongue and throat swelling. If that’s you, then yes, you need a non-dairy source of protein. Can whey protein damage your kidneys? Any high protein meal can raise the pressure inside the kidneys and cause them to filter more blood than usual. However, this is a normal bodily response and does not harm the kidneys.
Looking through the literature, there are no studies showing harmful effects of protein in the average person with healthy kidneys. In this thorough review the authors concluded there is no significant evidence for a detrimental effect of high protein intakes on kidney function in healthy persons after centuries of a high protein Western diet.
That said, there is evidence that a high protein diet can be harmful for someone who already has kidney disease, which is basically a very weak and poorly functioning kidney. If you have an existing kidney condition definitely check with your doctor about whether protein supplements or any high protein foods would be suitable for you.
Can it damage your liver? No evidence shows that protein can damage the liver in healthy people. In fact, the liver needs protein to repair itself and covert fats into lipoproteins which are molecules that help move fat out of the liver. In as study of 11 obese women taking 60 grams of a whey protein supplement helped reduce liver fat by approximately 21% over four weeks.
Additionally, it helped reduce blood triglycerides by approximately 15% and cholesterol by about 7%. Much like kidney disease, a high protein intake may harm people who have cirrhosis, which is a chronic liver disease. If that’s you, check with your doctor before you have any protein supplement of any supplement for that matter. Can whey protein cause osteoporosis? There are a lot of theories going around that increased protein caused our bones to release calcium which would ultimately cause osteoporosis.
Now in this recent analysis of 36 studies, scientists found no evidence that eating too much protein was bad for bone health. In fact, they came to the conclusion that eating more protein was actually somewhat beneficial for bone health. Other large reviews have also found no evidence that increased protein harms the bones.
If anything, the evidence points to a high protein intake improving bone health, not the other way around. How much should you take? So as you can see, if you’re generally healthy whey protein can be taken safely and without any side effects. A commonly suggested dose is one to two scoops or 25 to 50 grams per day, but it’s recommended that you follow the serving instructions on the package.
Taking more than this is unlikely to offer more benefits, especially if you already eat enough protein. And if you do experience uncomfortable digestive symptoms then try switching to whey protein isolate or alternatively, use a non-dairy protein supplement instead. Thanks for watching. Make sure to give this video a thumbs up if you found it informative. Don’t forget to subscribe to Healthline’s Authority Nutrition YouTube channel by clicking the red subscribe button below this video. (upbeat music)