Secret Hazards of Whey Protein

Whey Protein is the liquid produced from milk during the process of making cheese. This easily digestible protein is a combination of all the best natural sources of proteins existing in milk, offering numerous health benefits. Nevertheless, despite the innumerable advantages of whey protein, most of them commonly available in the market as supplements or diet shakes, for consumption of fitness freaks and dieters, help building up of muscles yet have great implications on the body. However, whey protein taken in its natural form is the best way to avoid any health perils.


What is Whey Protein?

What is Whey Protein?Whey protein, the richest source of all proteins available, is a collective protein that exists in milk, known as BCAAS, meaning Branched Chain Amino Acids. The key proteins found in whey are alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lacto globulin and serum albumin. As it is soluble in nature, it helps easy absorption and helps nourish the body by providing the vital amino acids required to support muscles and cells.


Forms of Whey Protein

Whey proteins are available in three forms namely concentrate (WPC), isolate (WPI) and Hydrolysates (WPH).


Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC)

The most common variety of whey used in powdered supplements, is the whey protein concentrate. They contain 25 to 89% of protein concentrates, 4 to 8 % moisture, fat and minerals respectively.


Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)

Isolates are the purest form of whey containing 90 to 95% protein. With low levels of lactose, fat and cholesterol, WPI contains higher biological value and is the most supreme quality of protein sources.


Whey Protein Hydrolysates (WPH)

Whey protein Hydrolysates are those treated with enzymes to break down the lactose or protein into less significant constituents providing more peptides and amino acids. Lactose hydrolysed proteins are suitable for people with lactose intolerance as they help break down simple sugars for easy and quick absorption.


Functions of Whey Protein

Whey protein is the richest source of all the essential nutrients, crucial for the functions of the human body. The most supreme form of protein, whey protein boosts immune health, augments muscle mass, aids weight loss, gets rids of body fat instead of lean muscle, prevents development of serious ailments such as cancer, stabilizes blood pressure levels, hastens recovery of illness and is excellent for development and growth.


Side Effects of Whey Protein

Whey protein, the richest source of dietary protein, is a key factor providing all the nine amino acids, which the body is incapable of producing by itself. Whey protein offers a host of innumerable benefits with a few adverse side effects due to excessive consumption of this protein especially in the forms of diet shakes and supplements.


Bodybuilding and Athletes

Body builders are always advised consumption of whey protein before and after a vigorous workout for easy muscle recovery. Undoubtedly, Whey protein has been the best source of sports persons and fitness buffs to boost muscles and improve health. Nevertheless taking the protein as a standalone supplement creates nutritional imbalance in the body. If there are any side effects evident, it would be wise to discontinue usage of this protein after consultation with a physician.


Renal Damage

According to the university Maryland Medical centre, the creatinine present in the amino acids may precipitate a renal disorder. Whey protein offers 25 grams per serving of this essential nutrient, which is the daily-required amount for an individual. Nevertheless, anything beyond this amount leads to renal malfunction or impairment of a prevailing problem. This exerts a lot of pressure on the kidneys to work incredibly harder to process and metabolize the proteins in large quantities.


Kidney stones

Consuming too much whey protein may elevate the pH levels of blood, which ought to be in the 7.0 limit. This condition exerts undue pressure on the kidneys making the blood turn acidic finding it difficult to break down the proteins. Nonetheless, the body utilises calcium to revoke the levels of acidity in the blood and any unprocessed calcium floating in the blood gets accumulated within the kidneys resulting in the formation of kidney stones.


Liver Damage

Whey protein ingested in the body in excessive amounts, may have serious health implications on the liver. The protein taken in the form of supplements and drinks lay superfluous load on the liver, forcing the organ to work harder to process the proteins and facilitate proper digestion. In due course of time, this extra pressure leads to liver damage.



Lack of carbohydrate in the body may push the body to a condition known as ketosis, which indicates high amounts of ketones present in the body. These are fats converted to energy, which is flushed out from the body via urine. The body’s carbohydrates and dietary fat are burnt to produce physical energy. Lack of carbohydrate in the body helps break down the fats stored in the body as its main source of energy, which is one of the key roles of ketosis. Excessive protein in the body forces the body to go into a state of ketosis, putting the liver under a great deal of strain.



Another side effect of whey protein is the risk of developing osteoporosis. Insufficient amounts of calcium and other minerals may lead to weak and brittle bones easily prone to factures. This condition is termed osteoporosis. Whey protein consumed in the form of supplements consumed for extended periods cause mineral imbalances in the bones. Besides excessive proteins, blood acidity also depletes calcium levels in the body, with decreased bone density resulting in fractures of the wrist, spine and hip.



The crystals of uric acid build up in the ligaments, bones, joints and sinew of the legs making them rather stiff and inflamed. This state is manifest in athletes and body builders due to protein intake in large amounts. This condition indicates a form of arthritis known as gout.


Digestive disorders

In certain cases, consumption of whey protein may lead to digestive disorders as the undigested proteins experience bacterial fermentation causing acidity, gastric problems, weariness, exhaustion, bad temper, headaches, stomach ache and a distended abdomen.


Appetite Suppressant

Whey protein supplement taken for weight gain and increased muscle mass has its own disadvantages as they curb appetite besides imparting a feeling of satiety much more than whole foods such as eggs and turkey.



Lucine, an amino acid found naturally in whey protein, have a tendency to drop blood sugar levels leading to hypoglycaemia. Lucine sustains post workout revitalization, hence most whey supplements come improved with this substance. Therefore, it would be wise to exercise caution before consuming and seek the expert guidance of a medical practitioner.


Weight Gain

The body requires 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Therefore, ingesting too much protein in the body has the same value as body fat, as the protein, which the body is unable to burn; end up getting stored up as fat resulting in weight gain. Most whey supplements and shakes come heavily laden with calories and excess consumption may lead to weight gain instead of building muscles. (Know Ideal weight for height)


Lactose Intolerance

Milk contains copious amounts of sugar known as lactose. Lactase, an enzyme, is produced in the small intestines of infants and children for effective digestion of lactose in the body. However, with advancing years the body loses its capacity to digest the sugars from milk developing to lactose or dairy intolerance producing cramps, diarrhoea, nausea and in certain cases vomiting. Hence, people with lactose intolerance ought to avoid this protein.


Drug Interactions

Whey protein has a tendency to impede with the dispensation of certain drugs, supplements or herbs using the livers cytochrome P450 system of enzyme. As a consequence of changes in the blood, there may be possibilities of adverse reactions taking place within the body. Therefore, consulting a medical practitioner prior to taking whey protein may be beneficial to avert any serious problems and side effects.


Blood pressure

Whey protein has a tendency to lower blood pressure levels, therefore patients on Hypertensive drugs ought to exercise caution and consult a medical practitioner before starting consumption of this protein.


Bleeding disorders

Whey protein increases the risk of bleeding in people who have an existing bleeding problem. It might also work as one of the side effects for those taking prescribed medications that have a tendency to increase the risk of bleeding.


As the old adage goes too much of anything is good for nothing, therefore just remember, the watchword for consumption of whey protein is in moderation, natural sources being better options, though. Besides, excess protein consumption, an unhealthy diet and sedate lifestyle may be one of the foremost factors for the cause of various health ailments. Nevertheless, whey protein taken in right quantities, depending upon an individual’s capacity to metabolise fats, yield potential health benefits. So eat wise and live healthy!

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