Can Whey Protein Supplements cause Gout?

I often get the question asked, usually from weightlifters or bodybuilders, about whey protein or protein shakes being good for gout. In this post we will take a closer look at whey protein and gout. Whey protein is basically milk made of two proteins called casein and whey. Whey is the watery portion of the milk that separates from the curds when making cheese. Whey protein is considered a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids.

Whey protein supplements, usually in the form of powder are popular amongst bodybuilders and athletes because these supplements are often advertised as a way of building and maintaining muscle since amino acids are depleted following a workout. Whey protein is a supplement that also has high levels of lactoferrin which helps your body heal quickly and is also 20% of the protein found in milk. Obviously these whey protein supplements have a much higher concentration of protein. In fact, whey is the best source of natural proteins.

The simple truth is that your body can only use so much protein in a day. Consuming too much protein will put an added strain on your liver and kidneys which work very hard to filter out the waste created during protein synthesis. Uric acid levels may go higher due to this and you may end up with a gout flare or gout attack.

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Although whey protein is derived from cow’s milk and contains small amounts of purines, you may want to limit the amount of whey protein you consume. Take precaution before increasing your protein load with whey supplements since you suffer from gout. Furthermore, high protein intake may also contribute to kidney stones since as gout sufferers we are more susceptible.

The truth is but many don’t want to believe it (cause the companies promoting whey protein to athletes have basically convinced them that you if you train hard you need to ingest tons of whey protein) is that your body doesn’t need that much protein at all to repair muscle from physical activity. Science proves it in numerous studies particularly in this University of Texas study which found that 4 ounces of protein from meat a day was more than enough to repair the muscles of Ironman triathlon athletes! The need for more protein is widely exaggerated by the whey protein supplements industry. Everybody’s gotta make a fast buck somehow!

A typical serving of whey powder is about 90 calories with about 20 grams of protein per serving which is a lot of protein for the small amount in calories. Remember to stick to the 10% daily calories protein-intake limit as per my ebook and you’ll do fine. As gout sufferers we must stick to this threshold to avoid higher uric acid levels and other gout complications down the road.

When deciding whether to use whey protein supplements, discuss it beforehand with your doctor. Your doctor will have the information needed about your kidney status, is familiar with the medications you are taking to treat gout and can evaluate your muscle status.

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