Does Whey Protein Have Side Effects?

Whey protein is considered to be one of the most commonly used supplements in sports nutrition. There are no restrictions, anyone can have whey protein. When resistance training whey protein can help improve to muscle protein synthesis and supports the growth of lean muscle mass. 

What is whey protein?

Whey protein is naturally present in cows milk, they say around 20% of the protein found in raw milk is whey protein. It is produced during the process of making cheese, certain enzymes are added to milk which causes the milk to separate out into different parts. One is called curds which is what is used to make cheese and it leaves behind whey protein in a liquid form. The liquid whey is then pasteurised and dried into a powder for various uses. (1)

There are 3 different types of whey protein

  • concentrate
  • isolate
  • hydrolysate

More information on the 3 types can be found here. (2)

So does whey protein have side effects?

If you have a milk allergy or are lactose intolerant you would more than likely have side effects to whey protein. 

Milk allergy is more common in children and can cause symptoms such as swelling, itching, vomiting or can be as extreme as causing an anaphylactic shock. Milk allergy is the third most common food to cause anaphylaxis after peanuts and tree nuts. (3)

If consumed moderately it does not typically cause any disadvantageous effects. However, high consumption can cause

  • stomach pains
  • cramps
  • reduced appetite
  • nausea
  • headaches
  • fatigue

Another effect can be acne. Whey can increase the production of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1. Insulin increases the production of sebum in our body. This is associated with the development of acne, your pores can get clogged up and the result is a breakout. (4)(5)


Are you suffering from any of the above side effects?

If you feel like any of these side effects are something your suffering from after what can you only narrow down to it being because of whey protein, try different products, whey protein is not your only option. There are 

  • hemp protein
  • pea protein
  • egg white protein powder
  • brown rice protein
  • plant protein blends

You can find more information about all the above choices here. (6)




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