Signs and Symptoms of Whey Protein Allergies (View our top recommendations)

Whey protein is made from cow's milk, it is a pure, all-natural, high-quality product that contains little to no fat, lactose or cholesterol and is a rich source of essential amino acids.

Although whey protein is derived from milk, you could still be experiencing some symptoms associated with dairy or milk allergy.

While it is not all side effects that are related to allergies, some side effects are often due to lactose intolerance, which is a condition that occurs when your body finds consumption of dairy products uncomfortable.

To be able to understand the cause of your reaction to certain protein powders, you should go through the ingredients listed on the nutrition facts label and avoid products with whey, assuming the cause of your allergy is established.

It is necessary to do so because even in some sports drinks and high-protein bars, whey protein is mixed with other protein powders.

What does whey allergy mean?

When you are allergic to whey, it means that your body doesn't find it comfortable for your body and considers harmful to your immune system.

This makes your immune system to stage protection against its consumption because it considers it harmful, and can invariably lead to some symptoms like, vomiting and stomach upset.

Weakened bones are another possible effect when consumed day after day for extended periods of time without balancing out the acidity with alkaline food.

The acidity of whey protein in our bloodstream can cause the alkaline minerals calcium and magnesium to be leached from our bones and used to buffer the pH of our bloodstream. Read about foods that contain whey

Signs that you are allergic to Whey Protein

The types of whey protein available are produced in three different forms, isolate, concentrate, and hydrolysate.

These have their different amounts of protein they contain and could relatively be connected to the allergies you could have.

For instance, whey concentrate could cause digestive problems for those who are lactose intolerant.

Whey protein isolates contain less lactose, and thus are easier for those with lactose intolerance to consume without suffering allergic reactions.

Whey protein concentrate is what remains when liquid whey is dried. It contains more amount of lactose, often about 50 percent.

However, the bad side of this, especially for those who are lactose intolerant is that when the undigested sugars get to the intestine, they undergo bacterial fermentation, producing gas that can cause nausea, cramps, and bloating.

If your body finds reacts just after taking whey, then you could be allergic to Whey protein intake. Below are some of the signs that you might notice. These signs could be external or internal.

External Signs

Immediately you come into contact with whey and start developing some form of reactions, it means you are highly.

The following are the signs and systems you could observe.

  • Your skin may get irritated and you may get a rash.
  • Your lips or tongue may swell up.
  • You could have runny nose or mucus.
  • It could cause you to start vomiting or throwing up.
  • It could cause fatigue to also set in.

Internal Issues

You may sneeze, cough or develop runny eyes.

While the above are symptoms you could experience externally, you are likely to develop some symptoms if whey protein powder is ingested or even immediately when you open it. Find below some of the symptoms.

  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Flatulence
  • Headache
  • Impaired breathing
  • Watery eyes

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Could it be Whey Protein Milk Allergy or Lactose intolerance?

Just because you experience intestinal distress or other mild problems after consuming whey protein powder doesn’t necessarily mean you are allergic to whey itself.

It could also be that you could be lactose intolerant. If milk, yogurt, ice cream and cheese causing you internal discomfort, you might not be sure it is an allergy or lactose intolerance.

Avoid whey protein until you are sure if you actually have an allergy or intolerance, in order to avoid serious complications.

How can you avoid the consequences of whey allergies?

While it is great to take protein, and with so many of them circulating the market, it is necessary to be careful of the ones you take, and also follow the necessary steps to avoid buying products that could be harmful to your health.

  • Understand why your body is reacting the way it is and the cause of it.
  • You may need to change your protein powder choice or simply adjust your dosage to avoid a whey protein allergy or intolerance.
  • You can eat other sources of protein. This could be whole natural foods which are rich in protein such as fish, beef, egg white etc.
  • Read more about the whey protein you intend to buy, and as much as possible try to investigate the ingredients contained in it so as to avoid the consequence associated with it.
  • You should check up with your doctor to be sure of your condition, whether it is an allergy or lactose intolerance.
  • If you use whey protein consistently and find that your body has persistent negative reactions, you should visit your healthcare professional or at best discontinue use and find possible alternatives to whey protein.
  • Drowsiness or sedation may occur. So, you should be careful when you indulge in serious activities like driving, operating on a machinery etc.
  • If you take other medications, including those that affect the immune system, you should tread carefully in order to avoid complications. Use cautiously in people with stomach or intestine disorders.
  • If you have known sensitivity to milk products, including milk from goat or cow or sheep, avoid use.
  • Avoid using whey protein long-term and in excessive amounts.
  • Only approved sources of whey protein should be used in infant formulas.

Should You Ignore Your Allergy Symptoms

Whey protein does not pose any serious threats. Generally, people only experience mild allergic reactions to whey protein, mostly digestive problems.

Because of this, some people simply ignore the symptoms especially if it doesn’t seem too serious.

It is definitely wrong to ignore the symptoms as you might end up suffering greater health consequences down the line.

While whey protein is great for bodybuilding, it comes with its disadvantage especially if you are lactose intolerant.

You could have problems with your digestive system which could lead to leaky gut syndrome, a condition in which food is not properly digested.

What are the Whey alternatives you can use?

Clearly, it has been shown that whey protein could be a great supplement for everyone.

However, its digestive side effects mean it unfortunately isn’t the ideal protein for everyone.

If you feel any of the symptoms of allergies such as being; uncomfortable, bloated, gassy or nauseous after taking whey protein product, you can try any of the protein alternatives as listed below:

  1. Hemp Protein

Most protein powders are pure protein, but hemp powders also contain omega-3 fatty acids and belly-filling fiber.

Research has proven how effective hemp seed alone due to the fact that hemp protein also contains all of the essential amino acids, which are necessary for building muscle.

  1. Yoghurt

Fat-free Greek yoghurt is an excellent source of protein, and it is also delicious. It contains more than enough protein content to encourage protein synthesis in the body, as discovered by McMaster University.

It is cheaper than whey protein and can be taken anytime of the day; either before you hit the gym or before you even go to bed.

  1. Lentils

Lentils have become popular with vegans who try as much as possible to avoid anything associated with dairy products. Lentils are rich source of protein and high in fiber and these are quite cheap too.

  1. Fish

Oily fish are also a rich protein source. They contain all the essential fatty acid and Omega-3 which helps reduce your bad cholesterol while raising the good cholesterol.

They have been proven to contain very little saturated fat. They can be seen as the ideal alternative choice to red meat which has likely saturated fat content.

  1. Pea Protein

Pea Protein has a great amino acid profile, including a lot of the branched-chain amino acids that are well-known for decreasing muscle breakdown after workouts.

It has insane benefits that can help improve your health such as improve muscle recovery, regulate blood sugar and reduce the rate of heart disease.

Pea protein is 100% vegan. It can be taken alone but surprisingly, it mix easily in milk, almond milk or water.

Add to that it’s pretty much less expensive compared to other whey protein alternatives and as such becomes an ideal, healthy alternative to a whey shake in the morning or just after an exercise regimen.


Whey protein is a popular supplement among bodybuilders, fitness experts and athletes.

While it is great for increasing muscle mass and speeding up recovery rate among other health benefits, it is likely unsafe for some people especially if you have known allergies or reactions to whey.

Before buying any whey product, be sure to seek proper guidance in order to avoid all the consequences that could be aroused by the allergic conditions.

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