There seems to be little debate as to the benefits of whey protein. It helps in building muscle, protects the body against illnesses such as blood pressure and cancer, helps in battling degenerative illnesses, is used by expecting mothers for their child’s development, and can help promote weight loss. Certainly this is an impressive list of positive uses of the product for many people. But with all health benefits of whey protein and what it has going for it, are there any dangers inherent with a product that can be so influential on the human body?
The four areas of major concern by most health experts are:
1. Potential for osteoporosis. Though never been proven, it is known that the consumption of high levels of protein may lead to an imbalance of minerals in the bones. This could have an effect on bone mineral density, eventually causing osteoporosis.
2. Kidney function. Many experts caution there is a risk to the kidneys with the protein, but this, as well, is somewhat circumstantial. High protein diets stress the kidneys, which has the responsibility of flushing wastes. Those who are on these high protein diets for a long period of time are at a greater risk for kidney stones and in severe cases kidney failure. Again, the link between deteriorating kidneys and long-term whey protein use is not conclusive, but to be safe people using the protein or for that matter on any high-protein diet might want to consume in moderation.
3. Allergic reactions. If you are lactose intolerant, whey protein may create problems. The standard lactose percent is well above the ranges that can be tolerated by the majority of people who are lactose intolerance. Anything below 2% can be tolerated well by most people suffering from intolerance. People who are lactose intolerant will have to opt for whey protein isolate, which has less than 1% lactose. As a comparison to whey protein, fluid milks are in the neighborhood of 5% lactose, and lactose-reduced milk about 1.5%. The higher the fat content, the lower the lactose content.
4. Liver damage. There is evidence that whey protein can have a positive influence with people with liver disease or liver damage due to hepatitis, as it will increase glutathione levels. Glutathione plays an important role in our antioxidant defense system, and people with liver disease due to hepatitis tend to have low levels. It is important to note, however, that whey protein will probably not reverse the damage or cure the disease. It would be a mistake to stop taking prescribed medications when using the protein, and taking excessive amounts could lead to problems.
There are many viable uses for whey protein, and building muscle programs usually top the list. Trying to find cautionary tales on the reasons not to use it were, quite frankly, not easy to find. On our website we always try to perform due diligence on any of the products that are sold as beneficial to our health, and almost always there is something that will beg for caution. With this product it seems to be overuse, as there is definitely a point where the product can do damage to certain organs. This of course holds true to virtually anything, and as long as it is used in moderation whey protein will be quite beneficial.