Are There Any Side-Effects of Protein Powder?

  • Added:
    Dec 31, 2013
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Protein powder
Protein powder
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As with any health product that you have to take internally, protein powders are great if taken in the right dose and can cause problems if excessively consumed. Protein powders are favored by bodybuilders, athletes as well as by fitness enthusiasts. Undoubtedly, one cannot underestimate the fact that protein supplements have numerous nutritional benefits to offer.

As a general rule, it’s better not to exceed 40g per meal. Another important fact to keep in mind is quality.

Let’s take a closer look at the possible side-effects that may occur if you overdo the amount and frequency.

Gastrointestinal problems

Too much protein intake can lead to digestive problems. Many forms of proteins contain lactose. If you happen o be lactose intolerant, you may end up feeling bloated or may experience stomach pain and nausea. If this is the case, look for a protein powder supplement that is lactose-free.


Excessive protein powder intake triggers the production of nitrogen in the body. Too much nitrogen affects the hydration systems and can eventually lead to dehydration. To avoid this, make sure you drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water each day.

Kidney stones

If you’ve been exceeding recommended doses of protein powders, you run the risk of kidney stones. This is because proteins encourage calcium build-up in the body. Your body breaks down calcium to balance acidity levels. Too much protein can burden your kidneys with excessive amounts of calcium, thus leading to the formation of kidney stones.

Once you have a kidney stone, it may disrupt urine flow to your bladder and you may then experience pain or blood in your urine. In that case, make an appointment to see your doctor. Again, make sure you consume enough water to offset the rather drying effect of protein powders.


If you’ve gone overboard in your dosage and amount of protein powder intake, you are likely to develop what’s called ‘Ketosis’. Proteins encourage fat breakdown in the body. But if too much fat gets broken down (due to the presence of too much protein), then the fats gradually turn into ‘Ketones’.

These Ketones start using your body glucose (which should ideally go to your muscles) to get activated and once activated, they attack your liver function. It’s natural to have some ketosis taking place at all times. The problem begins when it crosses the ‘normal’ mark and starts to become a danger.


Osteoporosis is the lack of calcium in the body. Although women are more likely to experience osteoporosis than men, it could happen to anyone. What happens is that excessive levels of proteins can add to acidity levels in the body to a point where your body begins to extract its calcium from your bones. Osteoporosis can result in pain in your joints and in severe cases even lead to arthritis. The solution is to consume a balanced diet and include fruits, vegetables in your diet.

Other side-effects could include hair loss (especially from inorganic protein powders) and acne.

As always, the secret lies in consuming the right amounts and opting for reputed protein powder brands.

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