Whey Protein is derived from whey which is a by product of the cheese manufacturing process. It is a rich source of protein and is widely used as a dietary supplement. It is rich source of amino acids like leucine, cystine etc. Leucine plays an important role in stimulating protein synthesis. It aids speedy recovery and helps the body adapt to stress. Cystine is important in the production of glutathione which itself is an antioxidant in the body. Glutathione is an antioxidant and prevents the body from free radical damage. There are studies which show that it may reduce the risk of cancer. Whey protein is widely used by athletes, body builders and wrestlers who require high amounts of proteins due to strenuous physical training.
Benefits of Whey Protein are as follows: It is useful for body building. Helps enhance muscle building capacity. Improved fat oxidation process to produce energy in the body. It reduced oxidative damage to the cells.
There are many side effects noticed due to excess whey protein consumption. Some of the side effects are as follows:
Lactose intolerance is one of the side effects of whey protein consumption. As it is derived from whey which is ultimately a milk derived product, it contains lactose. The amount of lactose present is about 5 to 6 %. Those people suffering from lactose intolerance are unable to digest any product that contains lactose in it. Thus whey protein consumption in such people may not be advisable. The individual suffering from lactose intolerance may develop loose motions, abdominal pain, flatulence, distension of the abdomen, in a span of 30 minutes to 2 hours following consumption of any product containing lactose.
Another important side effect of whey protein usage is ketosis. This means over production of ketone bodies in the body. This is produced by the liver by a process called ketogenesis. This occurs when the glycogen stores in the liver are depleted. Liver damage can occur due to ketosis.
Osteoporosis is one of the side effects of over use of whey protein. Kidney damage too could occur and there can be formation of renal stones. Kidney damage is one of the dreaded complications of whey protein usage. Another problem is the presence of artificial sweeteners like aspartame in whey protein which is neuro toxic.
Whey protein also produces drug interactions with many commonly used drugs. Some of the drugs are quinolones, Levodopa, Tetracyclines etc. The efficacy of these drugs is reduced when taken along with whey protein. The absorption of these drugs from the intestines is reduced.
One must remember that the daily requirement of protein by an individual is 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
Overall the reviews of whey protein show that each one has to weigh the pros and cons or the benefits and ill effects of this product on their own health. Final decision of whey protein usage must be made based on the physician’s advice, which depends on the state of health, age of the person and the daily requirements of the individual.
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