Whey Protein Powder: Anxiety, Diarrhea and Headaches

Have you ever thought to yourself, could my whey protein powder be causing my anxiety, headache or giving me diarrhea? If so, you’re not alone. Consuming protein powder can sometimes give you more than you bargin for.

If you’re in the bodybuilding or fitness industry, it’s not out of the ordinary to consume a pre/post workout shake and another shake later in the day. But if you’re a sensitive individual, it can take as little as one scoop to have an adverse reaction. Far too often consumers don’t realize pounding down protein powder in the pursuit of muscle growth can cause a variety of adverse reactions.

Adverse Reactions

  • Anxiety
  • Intestinal bloating, cramping and sharp pains
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing, tight chest
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Hives

Above lactose intolerant

Reason 1: Lactose Intolerant

As we age our bodies tend to change and no longer require milk, that’s why so many individuals become lactose intolerant as they age. Whey contains lactose; ingesting whey if you’re lactose intolerant can cause a number of gastrointestinal issues. Some of these include intestinal bloating, cramping, diarrhea, constipation and intense sharp pains.

Reason 2: Ingredients

Although there are a variety of protein powders out there, one thing remains consistent; most whey protein powders contain a long laundry list of ingredients. Below is a short list of just a few of the ingredients you’ll find among the top selling protein powders on the market today.

Acesulfame Potassium (Acsulfame K)
Common Side Effects: Headaches and nausea.

Celluslose Gum (Carboxymethylcellulose {CMC}, Purified CMC or Sodium Carboxymethlcellulose)
Common Side Effects: Constipation or Diarrhea.

Dipotassium Phosphate
Common Side Effects: Constipation or diarrhea, dizziness, and nausea or vomiting.

Gum Blend (Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, Carrageean)
Common Side Effects: Gastrointestinal upset including bloating, gas and diarrhea.

Inulin (Oligosaccharide or Prebiotic)
Common Side Effects: Gastrointestinal problems including bloating.

Common Side Effects: (in sensitive individuals) Hives, tightness in the chest or a difficulty breathing.

Beastly Notes:

Gum blends are derived from corn, soy or wheat and should be avoided by allergic individuals.

Beastly Tips
  1. If you think you could be having an adverse reaction to your protein powder, try eliminating it for several days. Reintroduce it and see what happens.
  2. If it’s your protein powder consider switching to an egg, plant, or rice based protein powder.

The bottom line, know what’s in your scoop!
For a more comprehensive list on additives and ingredients in protein powders check out my article on What’s in Your Whey?

What’s in your scoop? Let me know in the comment section below.

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