Protein supplements or powder are a rage now. Taking a protein pill after a meal or having a spoon of protein powder with some milkshake is the norm these days for many. But have you ever asked yourself: are they really safe and if so, to how much extent. Well, more than often, protein supplements are a safe option for everyone. However, before actually going for them it is always better to know the side effects of protein supplements and why we actually need protein.
Why Is Protein Important?
Protein is a major component of cells in the human body. In fact, it is a macronutrient whereas carbs, fats, minerals, and vitamins are micronutrients which means they are less needed by the body. As such protein being a macronutrient has a greater role than the micronutrients.
Hair, nails, muscles, bones, cartilage, and skin are made of protein. Besides, protein helps the body repair and build tissues. The body also uses it to manufacture hormones, enzymes, and other chemicals.
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The basic works of protein that are important for human existence consist;
- Causing biochemical reactions
- Growth and maintenance of tissues
- Acting as a messenger
- Giving structure and stiffness to cells and tissues
- Maintenance of proper pH
- Balancing body fluids
- Upholding immunity
- Storing and transporting nutrients and
- Providing energy
Going by this, it is clear that the body can’t function without proteins which are made of amino acids.
How much protein dosage is recommended?
With these many key functions don’t get away with the impression that to keep up health one needs to just stuff in protein all day. It is not so and there’s a certain fixed amount of protein recommendation based on age, sex, health condition, and so on.
As per the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services below is the protein dosage recommendation;
- Teenagers and active men need 3 daily servings of 7 ounces.
- The majority of women, children aged 2 to 6 and few aged people need 2 servings of 5 ounces.
- Teen girls, older children, active women, and the majority of men need 2 servings of 6 ounces.
Note: All the recommendations are per day. In general, 56 grams per day for men and 46 grams for women.
Side Effects Of Protein Supplements
Taking protein supplements without proper doctor recommendation can lead to many fatal side effects.
Here are the most dangerous side effects of protein supplements;
1. Upsets Digestive System
Casein and whey protein are the 2 most used protein supplements gotten from milk with high lactose. People with lactose sensitivity may see high bowel movements, flatulence, bloating, diarrhea, and nausea.
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2. Harmful Weight Gain
Excess quantities of protein supplements lead to weight gain and fat is the other name for weight. If the amassed fat is not shed away with proper physical activity, it leads to alarming weight gain which leads to other health problems.
3. May Lessen Blood Pressure
Studies have found that whey protein can lessen blood pressure. Although a good mechanism for many it may not be the same for the ones who are already taking medicines for high blood pressure. Whey protein and these medicines may low down blood pressure too much or more than needed.
4. May Affect Kidneys
The body uses protein and the resultant by-product is ammonia which converts into urea that’s eliminated through urine. As such taking high protein is making too much urine and causing pressure on kidneys to eliminate it. It may also lead to renal disorders, the formation of kidney stones, and amassing of calcium.
5. May Disturb Hormones
One of the major problems of soy-based protein supplements is hormonal disruption. Soy protein supplements are filled with much-needed amino acids and phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogen imitates the estrogen hormone and makes the endocrine system more active than needed. This protein also has glyphosate that may lead to hormonal imbalances, miscarriage, and birth faults in newborns. There are also genistein and daidzein which cause diminished libido, erectile dysfunction, and puffed-up breasts in men.
6. Might Lead To Liver Damage
Sticking to protein supplements is nothing but a body with no or fewer carbs which may push it to the ketosis state wherein the body uses fat as the main energy source. This state causes high blood acidity levels which may impair liver function. Besides, high whey protein and lack of exercising is nothing but liver inflammation and risks of harsh liver damages.
7. May Cause Heavy Metal Poisoning
These types of proteins are filled with hazardous heavy metals such as lead and arsenic. Prolonged usage of them makes one sick and leads to quick exhaustion.
8. Drug Interactions
These supplements and medications for osteoporosis don’t go well. Interaction between them may decrease medicines’ absorption. Whey proteins may interact with antiplatelet medicines, anticoagulant medications, and NSAIDs thereby leading to bleeding risks.
Other probable side effects of protein supplements may include cancer risks, dehydration, acne, hair loss, and increased insulin levels.
Sudheendra is a passionate blogger for 8 years and holds a Degree in Journalism & Mass Communications. His writings particularly focus on health, medicine, diet & lifestyle. For him, everything that interlinks and relates to health & medical world entices him. His write-ups aim at educating people not by just giving facts but by infusing human touch.