Whey Protein Side Effects

Side Effects of Whey Protein You Should Know

Hey, Gym enthusiast, what are you consuming in that shaker? Is it whey protein? Oh, great! You might be aware of that Whey protein is derived from cheese byproduct made from cow’s milk. Fat and Lactose is filtered from the byproduct, and made into a powder. But do you know that this protein powder can have a multitude of side effects on your body if consumed without monitoring? Hard to believe? Read ahead to learn about the side effects of Whey Protein.

Common Side Effects of Whey Protein

Whey protein may cause a headache, loss of appetite, cramps, fatigue, cramps and unbalanced bowel movements. It might also damage the kidneys, dysfunction the liver, develop osteoporosis or an allergic reaction to rashes, swelling of the face, tongue, throat, or breathing. You might also throw up, experience nausea, flatulence, diarrhea or constipation.

Lactose Allergy

If you are lactose-intolerant, then digesting Whey protein could be very difficult due to a deficiency of the lactase enzyme in the intestines. Consumption of whey protein might cause an allergic reaction. Amongst three types of whey proteins, i.e., whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate and hydrolyzed whey; Lactose is eliminated from the latter two. Thus, using these types of whey protein could minimize any potential allergic reactions.

Hence, it is recommended that if you are lactose intolerant, you should opt for a whey protein isolate as it contains less than 0.1 gram of lactose/tablespoon. Research shows that this amount has little or no side- effect on lactose intolerant patients.

Kidney Damage

Experts suggest that consuming protein in a significant amount could cause Kidney damage. However, no scientific evidence proves the same. People with kidney disease or renal failure are suggested to avoid protein because their kidneys are not in a position to conduct proper metabolism. According to Weight-Loss., kidney damage may occur only if the protein is consumed in unmonitored quantities on a long-term basis. This applies to whey protein too.

Liver Damage states that high and unregulated whey protein dosage could overload the liver and cause damage. However, no scientific study supports the claim. On the contrary, whey protein could be beneficial for people with viral hepatitis and other liver disorders. The glutathione content in Whey protein can boost immunity and improve stamina. It cannot reverse liver damage though.

It is mentioned on, that whey protein powder might have side effects on the liver, particularly for those who take certain medications. The write-up states that Whey protein may disturb the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver’s enzyme – cytochrome P450’ system. Due to this, the levels of these drugs might be altered in the blood, and have severe adverse reactions.


According to, osteoporosis is a condition that weakens the bones and makes them fragile. Due to Osteoporosis risk of bone fractures multiplies. This happens because of the lactoferrin content in whey protein. This particular substance promotes bone growth and stimulates the bone cells called osteoblasts.


If you have a fad diet with High Protein Low Carb then you are forcing your body to get into a ketosis state, where your body will burn fat as a primary source of energy due to unavailability of carbohydrates. If this happens for an extended period, then your liver might get stressed, and destruction of muscle tissues might start too. Do not ignore this situation, as it might cause kidney failure in the long run.

It is essential that you consume a few grams of carbohydrates with proteins daily.

Temporary Bloating

Whey protein might cause temporary bloating that might disappear once the protein supplement is digested. This might not be a hazardous one, but it a side effect.

Might Cause Acne

You might have read that Whey Protein might accelerate Acne. This happens because hormones and bioactive peptides in whey protein trigger the sebum production. You can combat this side-effect by vigorous exercise. Once you fall into a routine, this sebum production registers a significant loss and stability is seen all over the body.

Spike in Insulin Levels

Research indicates that whey protein when consumed post-workout can increase the insulin levels and reduce the availability of glucose. This can cause lethargy, as less glucose inhibits body’s fat burning capacity.

Imbalanced Nutrient Composition

Protein content in protein-rich food products like eggs, meat, etc. is balanced, while in supplements the nutrient composition is unbalanced. Remember that nature has its way of adding nutrients, while protein supplement manufacturers create an artificial composition that might or might not suit one and all. To combat this, consume fresh vegetables, fruits and other natural sources of protein like soy, eggs, etc. and treat protein supplements like add-ons only.

High Levels of Metal Toxicity

Check you Whey protein label, if it contains high levels of cadmium, lead, arsenic, and mercury then do not consume it. Over consumption will have adverse effects on the body and toxify the blood.


Combine Whey Protein with weight lifting and other strenuous exercises. Train hard, because only if the body utilizes whey protein, your muscular frame will change, and if whey protein lies unutilized it might create problems. The recommended value of protein consumption for different exercisers is as follows:

  1. Recreational exerciser: 0.5-0.7 g/lb
  2. Strength training athlete: .5-0.8 g/lb
  3. Endurance exerciser: 0.5-0.8 g/lb
  4. Calorie restricting athlete: .08-0.9 g/lb

Stay healthy and stay fit!

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