Whey protein and Gout

Gout and Whey Protein

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 go higher due to this and you may end up with a gout flare or gout attack.

Tart Cherry Extract for Gout

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 can 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.

Posted by Spiro Koulouris

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  • Steve

    Reply Reply August 5, 2019

    Hi, Would like to ask if this applicable to those who has no gout attack but with high uric acid level in their blood? I’m having surprisingly high uric acid lately at 6.3, I used to be around 3.9 ~ 4.5 in the past. I had been in low carb diet for long time and I also take Salmon, Chicken, nuts (macadamia/ almond/ walnut) most of the time. Of late, i’m introducing more carbs to my diet (plant base, red bean, barley, red/black rice, dates, etc) but it seems that it made my uric acid gone sky high.

  • Rama K

    Reply Reply May 28, 2019

    Hi, My Uric Acid 8.4 checked last month (April 15th), I checked last year it’s 8.6. Last three months I had three gout attacks. I consulted a doctor they suggested me to use colchicine 0.6 mg, I took since last three months whenever I had a gout attack, also my doctor gave me allopurinol 0.5 mg for 30 days.

    Last three days I am facing gout attack same place at my left leg ankle swelling unbearable pain and swelling.
    I went to another doctor they suggested me to use Uloric 40 mg daily one sample tablets to use two weeks. Doctor suggested we can check after two weeks but I observed using Uloric 40 mg since last three to four days my leg ankle pain increased sometimes and swelling too, some times observed pain keeps down, swelling still.

    I am not taking any alcohol, no non-veg, taken two to three times Indian style chicken for last three months. I observed Gout attacks for me for the last 5 years.Requesting you to please suggest me.

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply June 3, 2019


      I am not a doctor and can’t give you medical advice. If I were you I’d seek a different opinion from another rheumatologist. Allopurinol is supposed to be either 100 mg, 200 mg, 300 mg and so on. So I don’t understand the 0.5 mg.

      Drink lots of water and soak your affected joint in warm water with Epsom salt to relieve you of some of the pain.

      Good luck!

    • T Le

      Reply Reply August 9, 2019

      I used to have gout attacks almost every other week since 35 years old, even I am taking allopurinol 100 mg every day. But I have not have any gout attack for the last 15 years after using Cod Live Oil and drink a lots of water addition to allopurinol 100 mg every day!

  • Rachel

    Reply Reply April 21, 2019

    I know gout is more common in men than it is in women…and that it’s normally in a big toe?…I’m assuming you can get it in any joint? I’m finding this info very interesting… I’ve up’ed my protein levels…as I’m monitoring my macros there’s a certain amount of carbs, protein and fats to be had per day…fats higher on no workout days. However, since I’ve had joint pain…and real bad attacks in my shoulders, knee and wrist…is this gout?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply April 22, 2019

      Hi Rachel!

      You won’t know for sure until you get it checked out, make sure you visit your doctor and do some bloodwork.

  • Ioannis Michalakis

    Reply Reply January 23, 2019

    I work out very hard and my daily protein intake is over 150g. My uric acid level is 8.3.Is it possible to keep muscle mass without protein intake?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply January 26, 2019

      Hi Ioannis!

      Try plant based protein instead. It’s a big new trend for weight trainers and so much better on your kidneys. Again my argument is that your body doesn’t need all that protein even for training. Refer to studies that are included in the article.

  • Ray Contego

    Reply Reply July 31, 2018


    How about using egg white protein supplements? I’m looking for Whey and vegan protein alternatives.


    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply July 31, 2018

      Yeah but I would prefer vegetable based protein and the market is changing now, more and more athletes and trainers are opting for vegetable based protein shakes instead, the market and interest is growing.

  • Ameya

    Reply Reply June 13, 2018

    Hi Spiro!

    I had suffered gaout attack almost 6 months back and had recovered it from homeopathic medicines which suits me. Currently I was following 6 meal plan for weight loss out of which 2 meals being shake with soy protein. I tried to replace it with whey protein and started feeling pain due to high uric acid is it possible? Due to change in diet.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply June 14, 2018

      Yes whey protein raises uric acid levels. Also weight loss can cause flare ups if you are losing weight fast. Stick with plant based protein for best uric acid results.

  • Akash

    Reply Reply May 6, 2018

    Hello Sir, Due to Uric Acid, I’m Suffering from Gout, so I avoid eating eggs and chicken, but Can I take Whey Protein, as this protein having low purines…. Please give your suggestion … Thank you

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply May 7, 2018

      Try a plant based protein instead of whey protein. It’s better for your kidneys.

  • Khalid j b yaseen

    Reply Reply April 7, 2018


    Last check up of uric acid with my doctor was 5,7

    My uric acid is 7,2 now
    That day I ate fish and shrimps I found it came high level.

    Now what to eat then
    CHICKEN, eggs ,meat , fish, are forbidden.

    What to eat?

    I’m a man who like eggs and milk so much.
    Chicken also I eat breast.

    I go to gym they tell me take whey protine ?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply April 7, 2018

      No shrimps or any other type of seafood! You can eat chicken breast but not more than 4 to 6 ounces and if you choose that as your protein then do not have any other type of protein for the remainder of the day. Eggs are fine, eat them always boiled, do not fry them. Fish too not more than 4 to 6 ounces in one day. Too much protein is what gets us in trouble, so watch that carefully.

  • Faraz Ahsan

    Reply Reply April 6, 2018


    High Uric acid runs in my family. I have been gymming for the last 15 months. Now, I want to take protein, but eating eggs and chicken raise my uric acid levels up to 9.3
    I stopped eating chicken and drank a lot of water, and have managed to it get it down to 7.2
    But, I want to find a balance, basically a diet, that can help keep my uric acid in check, as well as complete my protein requirement for the work out I do.

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply April 6, 2018

      Beans, beans and some more beans. Broccoli too! These are plant based foods high in proteins. Believe me, you don’t need all this meat in your body cause you are exercising so much. Our bodies can only take so much protein anyway. All you need is 4 to 6 ounces a day. Anything more won’t go into repairing muscle. Check out the studies in my book and on this site.

      • curtis

        Reply Reply July 31, 2018

        I suffer from gout flare ups and kidney stones. I’ve read beans and nuts are higher on the oxalate levels, so where do I turn for non animal protein?

        • Spiro Koulouris

          Reply Reply July 31, 2018

          Hi Curtis!

          Try vegetable protein as in broccoli, 100% whole grain breads, rices and pastas will fill you up, so there is protein in them.

  • Joseph McIntosh

    Reply Reply March 20, 2018

    Hi Spiro,

    After reading these comments, you’re saying that beans are okay for a gout diet? Does this apply for peas too? I heard these could be bad.

    It seems as if Hemp Protein might be the best option for me in a shake, do you think a hemp protein such as this:


    Would be okay? I can’t find much on hemp protein and gout.



    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply March 20, 2018

      Hemp protein is plant based so naturally it is much better for gout. Your kidneys will have an easier time breaking it down.

  • Vishal Vyas

    Reply Reply February 10, 2018

    Hi Spiro,

    Before starting whey protein after my workout before 15 days back, I tried to inquire whether whey increases uric acid or not but I didn’t get any clear answer. But now I want to tell everybody that “Yes” Whey increases uric acid and will cause gout.

    Recently I got an gout attack. Even I was taking 1 scoop (30 gm) post workout. I don’t eat non veg. I ate only 5 eggs daily in evening. I didn’t decrease my carb load. Even though I suffered from gout attack which is very painful.

    Now I have to stop it and again have to shift to dairy products for recovery. Spiro please suggest me better choice to recover muscle and to increase more muscles.

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply February 10, 2018

      Hi Vishal!

      Many professional bodybuilders and athletes are moving away from whey protein and other protein shakes for vegetarian options.

      Click here for some options–>http://www.vegkitchen.com/nutrition/vegan-bodybuilding-6-meal-combos-make-complete-proteins/

      Try these and you will be fine!

    • Parikshit

      Reply Reply July 1, 2018

      Hey Vishal I’m not that big of an expert but I am a fellow sufferer, i just think that even if you don’t intake whey protein, 5 eggs a day might be pushing it, you should as Spiro said look for veggie options.

  • William Duan

    Reply Reply January 29, 2018

    Hi Spiro! This year I just went to high school, my doctor told me, I got gout, he said soybeans, broad bean purine is very high, I only eat a little beef eggs and milk to supplement protein.

  • Georges Beaujean

    Reply Reply January 21, 2018

    Hi Spiro, I have no gout already, I mean not hurt, but I am not far, uric acid very very high, so I bought your book right now, where I saw a recipe of chiken, in this post about Whey protein you answered:” If you eat 4-5 ounces of lean chicken breast…When my doctor told me : chicken formaly prohibited, my mother in law having gout stage+++ her doctor told her; do not eat
    chicken at all nor any bird by the way, too much
    Purine! ( my uric acid 12.1)
    So allow me to be a bit lost 🙂

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply January 21, 2018

      Hi Georges!

      I promote a gout diet of 80% of your daily calories should be fresh vegetables, legumes, beans, 100% whole grain breads, pastas and rice with some fruit. 10% of your daily calories should be fat as in eggs, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt etc…

      Final 10% should be protein as in lean meats like chicken breast, turkey, fish for example. You can eat some chicken, I eat chicken, it will not directly impact you unless you are at an advanced stage of gout. Uric acid of 12.1 is very high and I would work to lower it first before eating chicken. Once you have your uric acid controlled you can eat some chicken ( 4-6 ounces max) and not have it affect you.

      So the recipe book includes some recipes with meat. If your doctor told you no chicken, then don’t eat chicken. You’re better off eating a vegetarian plant based diet which is the ideal gout diet! But some people still want to have some meat in their diet cause they love their steak too much, so it must be easier for some gout sufferers to follow.

      Good luck!

  • Kunal

    Reply Reply January 12, 2018

    Hi Sir,

    I have uric acid level 7.3, have 2-3 kidney stones as well. My Doctor asked me to stop all nonvage diet and pulses. Now I want to know, can I take nonvage 2-3 times in a week, would it be harmful?

    I also go to gym. I took whey protein but I have stopped it now. Now I don’t understand from where I should get the required protein. Please guide me.

  • Dhananjay

    Reply Reply December 19, 2017

    Hi Spiro
    I’ve had been diagnosed with gout 3 years ago. Eventually through medicine and treatment I’ve been keeping well since last 1 year as there were no gout attacks or any symptoms. Recently I’ve started doing workout again. So I would like to know that if I take 24g of whey protein (1 scoop) will it have any negative effects relating to my gout ? Also would like to mention that other that whey there is negligible amount of natural protein I consume as I am on lean diet and good fluid intake.
    Thank you.

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply December 20, 2017

      It depends. Best to do some blood work with your doctor and see what your uric acid level number is. Then monitor to see if the whey protein increases it. Regardless, it can affect your kidneys long term, thus raising uric acid levels long term and worsening your gout. I’ve clearly explained how you can replace whey protein with beans instead. You don’t need as much protein as you think to repair muscle. Look at Tom Brady and many athletes now who don’t eat any meat or take any whey protein.

  • Vivek Vikram singh

    Reply Reply December 18, 2017

    I have pain in my muscle of leg and arms and few months before I have high uric acid around 8 but now it is controlled so can I take whey protein, if not so which beans and other things instead of whey protein I should take?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply December 18, 2017

      Hi Vivek!

      You can eat any type of beans. Today I had basmati rice with chick peas. Couple days ago, ate lentil soup. Last week I had a red kidney beans and black beans burrito. Make beans your protein food intake. Broccoli is another great source of protein!

  • Karan Rajguru

    Reply Reply December 16, 2017

    My uric acid level is 5.3; I have joint pain around my elbows and fingers. I find it hard to lift heavy weights. I’ve been taking whey protein isolate about 25g daily and additional natural source of protein such as eggs and diary product. What should I do to get rid of the joint pain? Recommend me some whey protein brand

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply December 17, 2017

      Karan replace whey protein for beans!! Beans will provide you with enough protein to help repair muscle from training. The top weightlifter in the world won gold while on a vegetarian diet that mainly included beans for protein. Don’t continue damaging your kidneys with whey protein.

  • Augustin Biswas

    Reply Reply October 22, 2017

    Hi Spiro,
    Thank you for all the information you provided, it was indeed helpful.
    I have uric acid issues and both my knees hurt when I consume too much of purine based products.
    Considering, everything you mentioned above I have decided to go for this protein shake (link below). Could you please advise if this would be less harmful.

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply October 22, 2017

      Hi Augustin!

      Maybe by a little bit but you can’t disguise protein. Protein is protein at the end of the day.

  • Dameon Do

    Reply Reply August 14, 2017

    Also I previously mentioned activity levels prior to the study activity but also during the study “Subjects remained largely physically inactive (i.e., rested in bed) for the duration of the study. “

  • Dameon Do

    Reply Reply August 14, 2017

    I know the body building and even the power lifting communities are filled with various supplement companies trying to sell this or that as the next new thing. I found your article interesting and wanted to inquire more about the science involved from the linked article.

    From the article linked and this article I noticed that the focus was on muscle repair after excercise. What about muscle growth? I.e. growth versus maintaining muscle and muscle repair after excercise?

    Also the study was done in a rested state “For seventy-two hours prior to admission, participants were asked to maintain their normal diet and avoided strenuous activity.” Without the variable of strenuous body building or power lifting does the study apply to these activities?

    Lastly, the weight of the individuals was 79.2±7 kg for the younger group and 77.5±8 kg for the older. With body weights greater or lesser might protein needs increase? I.e. might a 220lb weight lifter need more protein than a 168lb triathlete given their individual lean muscle masses?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply August 15, 2017

      Hi Dameon!

      This is what too much protein shakes can do for you:


      That’s right! They can kill you!

      Forget about all these metrics. Let’s simplify it. The so called “blue zones” where people live the longest don’t eat much protein. The Mayan Indians and the tribesmen of Brazil who live off the land eating complex carbs are the ones that live longest and disease free. We in the West are the biggest consumers of animal protein and suffer from diseases and obesity. Of course sugar plays a huge role as well but too much protein is not good for your liver and kidneys, they put a strain on it cause it takes many hours to break it down compared to vegetables. Why don’t you try replacing these shakes with more beans in your diet? Experiment and see. I’ll bet you’ll perform at a higher level and feel better. As for the weights, in general yes, the heavier you are the more protein you may require. Maybe an ounce or 2 extra than the average person. Nothing crazy.

  • Jesus M

    Reply Reply July 25, 2017

    Hi…since the whey is causing all kind of gout attacks, do you know if the egg based protein shakes are causing them too?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply July 25, 2017

      Protein is protein so best to cap it at 10% of daily calories although protein from plant based sources like beans, your body will metabolize them differently. Basically healthier for you. Again don’t miss the point that your body doesn’t need that much protein in the first place, that’s what the article is about.

  • Sam Fitzpatrick

    Reply Reply July 6, 2017

    Thank you for this information.

    I started back at the gym about a month ago and started taking whey protein supplements. Last week I had a bad gout flare up and the supplements are the only thing added to my diet.

    Do you know if the same applies for creatine?

  • Joseph Grabowski

    Reply Reply May 12, 2017

    After consuming Whey Protein back in 2006 I recently attempted I’d try it again to confirm that mega supplementation of this product DOES cause Gout!
    It makes me walk like a “stick figure”!
    And after not consuming it for 3 days now my legs are much less stiff / my gate has improved.
    Will now be pursuing other avenues of Protein Supplementation.

  • sagar grover

    Reply Reply March 19, 2017

    My uric acid level is 7.7 and I have kidney stones also. So please tell me can I use whey protein ( pure whey isolate) as I workout in gym lil’ hard. Please tell me if I can take? My age is 25.

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply March 20, 2017

      Hi Sagar!

      No you don’t need all that extra protein if you train hard at the gym. If you eat 4-5 ounces of lean chicken breast, you’ll get all the protein your body needs or try some beans instead. Thing is since you already suffer from gout, you are more prone to raise your uric acid levels if you take the whey protein so I would avoid it if I were you.

  • Gustavo Woltmann

    Reply Reply January 18, 2017

    Thank you for sharing this informative post. I just started working out so I’m gathering all the information I would need.

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