When it comes to protein intake, it's essential to find the right balance. Protein is a vital component for muscle growth and repair, but consuming too much of it can have adverse effects on your health. In particular, whey protein has been linked to potential liver damage and other side effects. Whey protein is a popular choice among athletes, fitness fanatics, and those who want to build muscle or lose weight.
It's derived from cow's milk and is a by-product of cheese production. It's a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. Some experts suggest that too much protein could cause liver damage in healthy people, while others say there's no cause for concern. However, a case report suggested that a 27-year-old man might have suffered liver damage after taking whey protein and creatine supplements (2). In addition, some research suggests that whey protein may help overweight and obese people lose weight.
More studies are needed to understand the possible long-term effects of high protein intake and, specifically, the effects of whey. If you have liver disease or any other health condition, be sure to consult with your doctor before taking protein supplements, including whey protein. People with lactose intolerance should opt for whey protein isolate (WTI) instead of whey protein concentrates (WTP), since WTIs are more refined and contain less fat and lactose. Consuming whey protein in high doses can cause headaches, stomachaches, acne flare-ups, bloating, nausea, and diarrhea. It may also hinder normal kidney function by increasing plasma urea content, urinary calcium excretion, and urinary volume. If you experience digestive side effects from whey protein supplements, you might consider trying whey protein isolate or a non-dairy protein alternative. It's important to remember that a balance must be achieved between the proteins that are consumed and other nutrients to avoid a nutritional imbalance.
The consumption of whey protein should always be accompanied by an adequate intake of water. In a small study of 11 obese women, taking 60 grams of a whey protein supplement helped reduce liver fat by approximately 21% for four weeks. Overall, it's important to consult with your doctor before taking any kind of supplement or making drastic changes to your diet. While whey protein can be beneficial for some people, it's essential to find the right balance between proteins and other nutrients to avoid any potential health risks.