Side Effects Of Whey Protein: On Skin, On Hair and On Liver

Protein is important macronutrient for the body. It helps in growth and repair of body tissues. Food is the most important source of protein for humans. You may get protein from many food sources such as meat, fish, egg, poultry, grains, lentils, nuts and dairy products. There are several protein supplements available and among them, whey protein is a popular supplement. Actually whey protein is derived from milk. Milk contains two types of protein, one is whey and other is casein. Whey is the liquid that gets separated from milk during the process of making cheese and curd.

The liquid is then filtered and dried into whey protein powder. Many fitness freaks and people who want to build muscles take whey protein powder. It is a complete source of all essential amino acids. Although whey protein supplement is considered safe, it may have certain unexpected side effects. Let us know more in detail about side effects of whey protein supplement.

Undesirable Side Effects of Whey Protein:

  • As said, everything that you eat and drink has some side effects. So does whey protein. Before we know the side effects, let us know certain qualities of whey as a protein.
    There are 3 main types of whey protein. The difference in them is because of the processing method.
  • Whey protein concentrate: This type has of fat, lactose, and minerals. Protein is approximately 70 percent.
  • Whey protein isolate: It has less fat and lactose whereas 90 percent of protein.
  • Whey protein hydrolysate: This type gets absorbed faster in the digestive tract as it is partially digested protein.

Some Common Whey Protein Side Effects:

  • Digestive disturbance: Some people after taking whey protein supplement may experience bloating, gases, cramps in stomach, diarrhea etc. This is one of the side effects of whey protein in people with lactose intolerance. Lactose present in whey is not digested because of lack of an enzyme lactase in certain people. Lactose is a type of sugar present in whey protein.
  • Allergic to whey protein: Whey is prepared from cow’s milk. Hence people who are allergic to cow milk may often suffer from whey protein allergy. Usually cow milk allergy is less likely to occur in adults. It is usually present in childhood and children outgrow it after a period of time. Person may suffer from typical symptoms such as itching, hives, swelling of tongue, throat, face, etc. If a person is allergic to whey protein he can switch over to other non dairy protein products that are made from soy, pea, rice etc.
  • Whey protein side effects on liver: There is no clear scientific evidence that suggests whey protein damages liver in a healthy person. In fact liver needs protein to convert fats into lipoprotein. Taking one or two scoops of whey protein supplement is quiet safe for a healthy person. The problem only is with people having pre-existing liver disease or a person suffering from gout. These individuals must avoid whey protein. The already damaged liver experiences more stress to metabolize protein present in whey. This may further deteriorate liver health as well as increase ammonia level in blood which normally gets detoxified by liver after protein metabolism. So if you suffer from liver disease, consult your doctor before taking whey protein supplement.
  • Hair loss due to whey protein: Whey protein in itself does not cause hair loss. However, some brands of whey protein powder may also contain additional additives such as inorganic growth hormones and creatine intended in promoting muscular growth. These additives are known to increase the level of testosterone hormone. Rise in testosterone also increases DHT level which may cause thinning or hair and hair loss. Especially people who have history of early hair loss and baldness in family, they may experience hair loss as a side effect if the whey protein powder has other additives.
  • Skin acne: Whey protein powder is known to cause acne vulgaris in some people. This is because of a natural hormone present in cow’s milk which is also present in whey protein. This hormone triggers the skin to produce more oil. It also increases the skin cell production. Both these factors increase the risk of pores getting blocked, leading to acne formation.