Side Effects of Protein Shakes

Protein Shakes are one of the most oft-repeated terms that you can hear these days. A vital source of protein for athletes and sportspersons, this is a substance that helps you stay fit. But there are several side effects of Protein Shakes that you should read on to know about.

What Are Protein Shakes?

These are drinks infused with protein, frequently in the form of egg, whey or soy form. An intake of this drink can supply the body with a large amount of protein, a component that is essential for living cells. A single bottle of this drink can supply the human body with as much as 200-300 gms of protein. This amounts to anywhere from 800 – 1,200 calories.

Side Effects of Protein Shakes

One cannot undermine the benefits of a protein shake. It is a vital item that can be found in the bags of almost any individual who performs sports or engages in athletic activities these days. However, many individuals have been reported to suffer from certain side effects due to consumption of this drink. These include


Osteoporosis is the untreatable condition featuring weak bone structure and joints. As protein shakes tend to raise the acidic content in blood, the body attempts to offset it by taking away calcium from the bones. It is one the most severe long term side effects of protein shakes.


According to a study conducted by the Department of Nutritional Sciences in the University of Connecticut, protein intake has a direct impact on the hydration process of the body. It also enhances the level of nitrogen in the body, thereby affecting normal kidney activity.

The problem can be avoided by monitoring the daily water intake and drinking a minimum of 8-10 glasses of water every day.

Hair Loss

Some protein shakes, that are inorganic, consist of growth hormones that increase the level of DHT in the body. DHT is a hormone that ruins hair follicles when they are present in large amounts in the system. An excess of DHT can result in baldness and hair loss.

Side Effects of Whey Protein Shakes

Some of the possible side effects of consumption of whey protein shakes include


Allergy is one of the most common side effects resulting from intake of protein shakes. Protein shake consumption mainly gives rise to allergenic symptoms in people who are victims of lactose intolerance. Such individuals can suffer from several symptoms of lactose intolerance, such as

  • Stomach upset
  • Excessive bloating
  • Cramps in stomach

These symptoms are said to mainly arise from of whey protein supplements. Whey, which is a by-product of cheese obtained from cow’s milk, is the reason behind lactose allergy. However, lactose accounts for less than 1% of these supplements and the reactions are likely to be moderate in intensity for sufferers.


People who drink whey protein shakes have often been found to suffer from acne spots. There is no scientific evidence to prove a correlation between acne breakouts and whey protein. However, some doctors believe that whey protein powders may contain certain ingredients that result in hormonal changes and allergic reactions in the skin.

Liver damage

The human liver is responsible for assimilating protein. According to medical experts, a high amount of protein in whey shakes puts excess pressure on the liver thereby affecting its health. Long time consumption may prove to be damaging for the liver.


Allergies due to lactose intolerance resulting from consumption of protein shakes can lead to diarrhea. Milk allergy gives rise to elevated histamine levels in the digestive tract, which causes diarrhea.

Side Effects of Protein Shakes for Muscle Building

The human body requires protein for growth of muscles. However, an excess of protein can have a negative impact on the human body. A high amount of protein powder can increase acidity of the blood. The body leaches calcium from the bones to go back to a basic level. This leads to the weakening of the joints and bone structure over a period of time and results in Osteoporosis.


High protein and low carbohydrate level makes the body use fat to release energy. This puts excessive stress on the kidneys and the liver and give rise to a condition known as Ketosis.

Ketosis leads to breakdown of fats and changes them into ketones. Ketones expend glucose to become activated and cause extensive damage to the functioning of liver. In a few cases, this damage can be life-threatening and result in liver failure. However, low carb diet enthusiasts claim that ketosis helps in substantial weight loss.

Kidney Stones

High level of protein can have a direct impact on the normal activities of the kidney. This can lead to the accumulation of calcium in the kidneys. Consequently, this can result in the development of several kidney ailments such as kidney stones.

Kidney stones can give rise to highly discomforting symptoms like

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Sweats during night
  • Night fever
  • Blood in urine

These problems can also be countered by drinking lots of water every day and avoiding excessive consumption of protein shakes.

Side Effects of Protein Shakes for Women

The negative effects of this protein shake in women include

  • Nausea
  • Allergies resulting from whey intolerance
  • Osteoporosis
  • Kidney stones, resulting from calcium accumulation in the body
  • Organ damage

Soy Protein Shakes Side Effects

Some of the potential side effects of regular soy protein shake consumption are

Digestion problems

Soy protein consists of protease inhibitors and lectins that can block arteries and interfere with normal digestion. This can give rise to problems in digestion.

Thyroid problems

Medical researchers suggest that an excess of soy protein can have an adverse impact on the thyroid gland and may lead to autoimmune thyroid disorders and goiter.

Blood coagulation

Soybeans also consist of a coagulating agent known as haemagglutinin that may lead to clotting of the red blood cells in the human body.

However, protein shakes are not that bad that you have to give them up altogether. The side effects of this substance can be avoided if you have it in moderation. Protein shakes, when consumed by a small measure, can produce many health benefits. They can help you build a healthy body and also guard you against maladies like blood pressure abnormalities and even cancer. If you have protein shakes on a regular basis, consult a doctor or health expert about how much your daily intake of the substance should be.


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