Whey protein? Is it safe? What are the side effects? How to use it?

What is whey protein and what are its uses?

Whey protein is the by- product of cheese separated from whey which is a liquid material left over when milk is coagulated. It is available in the market in the form of dietary supplement.  It is used as a medicine in alternative medicine fields. The protein is separated from the whey through membrane filtration. It is the source of protein that helps in increasing the nutrient properties of the diet. Whey protein is used as a dietary supplement to enhance athletic performance, replacing baby’s formulas as milk and supplying the requirements of milk to people who are intolerant to milk. This protein is used to prevent allergies, asthma, high cholesterol; weight loss and weight gain both

Whey protein helps infants in their early months 3- 12 months from developing red itchy skin. These children have less chances of developing allergies as compared to babies who take normal milk. Other skin diseases like psoriasis can also be controlled by taking whey protein as a dietary supplement.  It helps to decrease weight loss in people suffering from HIV and AIDs

Whey protein helps to increase muscle strength and reduce fat mass.  The best results can be achieved by consuming whey one hour before or after conducting workouts. Whey is filling and reduces hunger which in turn helps to reduce weight. It helps in losing body fat.

Several studies have revealed that whey protein is helpful in fighting prostate and colon cancer. But the inclusion of whey protein in the diet must be done only after proper advice from medical professionals.

Whey protein also helps to cope up with stress and depressed feelings. Regular intake of whey protein helps to decrease the symptoms of depression and helped the individual to be in a better mood.

Is whey protein safe?

Whey protein is found to be safe for most adults and children when the required dose is taken by mouth. Sometimes when high doses are given it can cause some problems like diarrhoea, excessive thirst, and lack of appetite, bloating of the stomach, muscle cramps, headache and tiredness.

Pregnant and feeding mothers may be at a risk to take this protein. It is better to avoid the use during this period to be safe. People who are allergic to cow’s milk can also be allergic to whey protein as the properties are similar in both. Overdose of whey protein or when it is combined with carbohydrates it can lead to certain dangerous problems 

Side effects of Whey protein

Weight gain

When whey protein is taken for lean muscles it can come with added sugars when combined with carbohydrates which are added fats as well. There can be excessive eating while taking whey because it may not be enough to satisfy hunger when taken as a diet supplement. There are also some whey protein supplements which are labelled as “gainers”and are used by body builders to increase their muscle strengths. These supplements can have extra carbohydrates to help the lean body to build fat. The e side effect of gaining weight can be avoided by not taking more meals after taking whey protein as a diet supplement. Always be careful in noting the label of the whey protein supplement.

Kidney Stones

it has been observed that whey protein can develop kidney stones but there is no scientific evidence to it. There are chances of the condition of kidney stones becoming worse in persons who already have kidney stones, if excessive doses of whey protein are given. Kidney stones can be avoided by taking large quantity of fibre diet along with whey protein. This will help to prevent the extra deposits which may lead to kidney stones. People who are prone to kidney stones must take balanced whey protein and eat a balanced diet along with whey protein.

Digestive Problems

the lactose content in whey protein can give digestive problems to persons who are intolerant to lactose. These people should take whey protein concentrate which is prepared after removing the lactose content.   People who are intolerant to other milk powders are likely to be sensitive to whey protein as well. These people should avoid whey protein and take the other forms of protein powders like rice protein, soy protein or hemp protein which are 100% lactose free. Whey protein on its own is difficult to digest. It can develop problems like flatulence, bloating, gas trouble, and indigestion. In such cases protein with more fibre content must be chosen


Another possible side effect of whey protein can be development of gout in persons who have a family history of gout or who already have gout before starting the use of whey protein. In such cases less concentrated whey protein must be taken and the dosage must be properly consulted with a medical professional to avoid the risks of gout.

Osteoporosis or bone loss

This can be caused by excessive use of whey protein.Excessive use of proteins can release acidic products in the body which are not tolerable in the body. The body tries to neutralise this effect with the help of calcium from the bones. This in turn will lead to loss of calcium from the bones and slowly develop the problem of Osteoporosis

Liver problems

Whey protein powder is found to have negative effect on liver function. There as a risk of liver damage due to the urea nitrogenous products in protein.  There are some heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium and mercury in protein powders which can damage the liver

Acne and pimples

Whey protein supplements are concentrated forms of protein and other nutrients which can have an adverse effect on the skin. It can lead to deposit of toxins which can develop acne. Access production of oil in the oil glands can also lead to acne. Outbursts of acne can be prevented by taking whey protein supplements with vegetables and vegetable juices because the phytochemicals in the juices are helpful in getting rid of the toxins and free radicals from the body.

How to use whey protein?

Whey protein can be can be made into shakes and smoothies by adding fruits and fruit juices. Whey protein powder can be blended with banana, peaches, mango, pears, milk, coconut milk to alter the flavour and nutrient content according to one’s preference.  Ice cubes can be added to protein shake to thicken and cool it.  Fruits can be frozen and then taken with the protein shake. Ice cubes can be made from milk and added to the shakes.   The flavour of whey protein shakes can be enhanced by adding ingredientslike honey, cinnamon, yogurt, dry fruits chocolate vanilla or strawberry powders

Whey protein powder can be added to the breakfast oatmeal cereal along with peanut butter. It is the best way to take whey protein for body building. It is advisable to take whey protein 30 minutes before exercise and workout as the muscle fibres will be broken down and the deposited carbohydrates will be dissolved. Whey protein taken before workouts will provide more energy. Whey protein taken after exercising will help in strengthening the muscles as the protein synthesis increases during exercise.

Ideal for breakfast

Whey protein can also be taken with the last meal of the day the powder can simply be sprinkled over the food of the last meal. This will help to elevate the amino acid level while sleeping and will help in strengthening the muscles. Alternatively protein drink can be taken before going to bed. This will prevent the natural protein breakdown during sleep and increase the synthesis of muscle protein.

Encourages weight loss

Whey protein need to be included with low calorie diet  to encourage weightloss.  The meals should not be replaced with whey protein  but whey protein is recommended as a supplement to diet as it will reduce hunger and reduce the normal diet which will lead to weight loss. Fruits like berries  and other fruits with high fiber and low sugar must be added in the whey protein shakes taken for weight loss. Honey, syrups and other sugar contents must be avoiided to sweeten the shakes for taste. Protein shake taken before the meals will satisfy the hunger  and reduce the desire to eat more during the meals. This can also reduce the blood glucose and help in improving the insulin level.