Consuming whey protein without prior consultation of a healthcare professional can be very dangerous. So before you start, here’s what you should know.
Whey is a byproduct obtained during the cheese-making process. It is basically the watery substance that is left behind after milk has been curdled and strained. It is a mixture of globular proteins such as beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin and serum albumin.
Whey protein comes in three major forms – concentrate, isolate and hydrolysate. Due to its amino acid profile, the consumption of whey protein helps in improving muscle mass and provides stamina for high energy-consuming activities. No wonder it is popular among bodybuilders and athletes.
However, studies have revealed that excessive consumption of whey protein could give rise to various health issues. Whey protein is known to interfere with various drugs. Some of these are tetracycline, norfloxacin and levodopa.
Dangers of Whey Protein
Here is a list of possible whey protein dangers.
» Allergic Reaction
Whey can affect the immune system of individuals who may be allergic to it. The immune system might confuse whey as a virus and might thus, try to attack it. This might lead to allergy symptoms as chemicals are produced to defend the body. The symptoms may show up immediately after consumption, or a few hours later. If the allergy affects your respiratory system, you might experience sneezing, throat itching, coughing, itchy eyes or a runny nose. If it affects the integumentary system, you might experience symptoms like face swelling, eczema, hives or rashes. In severe cases, you might experience an anaphylactic shock which can be life-threatening. Hence, people with any kind of milk allergy should avoid consumption of whey at all costs.
» Digestive Problems
Whey can also cause problems to people with lactose intolerance. Since it is derived from milk, it contains small amounts of lactose. If one is not capable of digesting lactose, then whey protein can cause abdominal bloating, cramps, nausea or diarrhea. Since the fat and lactose content in whey protein isolate is minimal, as compared to whey protein concentrate, it can be consumed. However, it would be best if you consult a healthcare professional beforehand.
» Weakening of the Bones
Whey protein is high in sulphur-based amino acids. These amino acids are believed to cause significant calcium loss. What happens is that, an increase in protein consumption gives rise to increased uric acid levels. The kidneys fail to flush out this excessive uric acid from the body. As a result, calcium is released from the bones to buffer high acidic levels and maintain the acid-base balance. This leads to the weakening of bones.
» Kidney Disorders
Although there is no scientific evidence to prove this, it is believed that the kidneys may be affected due to excessive and prolonged consumption of whey. The reason being, over-consumption of whey protein leads to increased acidity and lowered pH of the blood. This might make it difficult for the kidneys to metabolize these proteins and increase their workload, giving rise to various kidney disorders.
Other Possible Dangers
Following are some other dangers that may be caused due to consumption of whey.
» Low blood sugar levels
» Increased risk of bleeding in individuals with bleeding disorders
» Low blood pressure
» Interference with certain medication
While whey protein can help to increase muscle mass and can be consumed by people of all ages, excessive consumption of this dietary supplement must be avoided at all costs. It is also necessary that you consult your healthcare professional before you start consuming it.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.