Is there scientific evidence of whey protein side effects?
Whey protein is in simple terms liquid globular part of milk. It is obtained when cheese is separated from milk. It is commercially used as food supplement especially among body builders. The protein can also be used to manage protein malnutrition condition and other immune deficiencies. This is because this supplement is rich in proteins, mineral salts and residual lactose. Proteins are the component of food that is used to build or repair body cells. It is the primary input in growth and development.
They are large molecules which can be broken down to peptides, and further into amino acids. There are twenty amino acids that are used in formation of body parts. There are however only a few of them that is essential. These are the ones that cannot be manufactured by the body from other acids. Their metabolism results in production of a number of metabolites that may also have side effects.
Whey proteins side effects have been investigated by several nutritional and biochemical experts. The most comprehensive pre-clinical studies have been conducted on rodents serving as guinea pigs. These studies focused on identifying the side effects arising from the byproducts of its metabolism. Naturally, any protein molecule ingested is taken through the protein metabolism cycle that begins at the mouth with release of proteases. The byproducts include the carbohydrate skeletal structure, some fatty acids and peptides. The peptides are further broken down into amino acids. Some of the amino acids may form compounds with other amino acids, carbon structures and fatty acids to generate free radicals that produce negative side effects. However, every metabolism process that is aimed at releasing energy through the ATP pump, will inevitably release free radicals. The formation of undesired compounds and release of free radicals is what may be considered whey protein side effect.
Whey protein has been thought to inhibit the functions of glutathione peptide. It causes whey protein side effect by inhibiting the functions of glutathione as an anti-oxidant. The absorption of free radicals in the cell environment is therefore inhibited. Free radicals may cause side effects by ‘punching holes’ on other cell membranes. The result of pre-clinical studies on rodents did not reveal adequate evidence to substantiate the claim that whey protein may cause side effects of the same magnitude in humans.
In conclusion, there is no substantive evidence to link whey protein supplement to side effects. It is a safe product for body builders and patients of malnutrition.