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Protein Powder Allergy – Allergic Risks

Ahh, good ole’ protein powder. So many benefits that come along when consuming such a great supplement. However, we are going to flip the switch on protein powder and analyze some side effects, specifically, allergies that protein powder may pose. Allergic reactions to properties inside of protein powder prohibit many people from taking certain kinds of supplements. We will analyze the most common allergic reactions that could potentially be caused by protein powder. But first…

How Do “Allergic Reactions” Work?

As one of the most common things people suffer from, (1 in 5 people in the U.S.A suffer from allergies) allergic reactions are a response from your immune system to a foreign substance. The response triggers are called allergens, many which include pollen, mold and especially food.

An allergic response can vary from being somewhat annoying to being deadly. The severe allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis, taking a toll to your entire body.

Mild Allergic Reaction Symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Watery Eyes
  • Itchy Eyes
  • Runny Nose
  • Fatigue

Anaphylaxis Symptoms:

  • Hives/Itching
  • Tightness in the Throat
  • Wheezing/Shortness of Breath
  • Tingling in hands/feet

Diary Protein Allergies

Whey and casein protein comes from milk, one of the most allergic reaction causing foods. Many people, not even realizing it, have some sort of intolerance to milk. There are common symptoms when consuming the animal-based protein that varies from person to person. It could be because of the amount of protein powder you consume or just the tolerance of a person’s digestive system.

An inflammatory immune system response from dairy protein powder may cause some of the following symptoms…

  • Blocked Air Ways
  • Stuffy Nose
  • Thick Throats

What is Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose intolerance could also be a side effect from consuming dairy protein powder, not so much an allergic reaction, however. Lactose is sugar inside of milk, many people can completely consume lactose while others are unable to. Now lactase is an enzyme in your small intense that helps you digest lactose. Individuals that are lactose intolerance cannot produce enough lactase.

The dairy they had just consumed goes straight into the colon instead of digested by your intestines. Some symptoms that may arise from consuming dairy when lactose intolerant includes…

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea

Vegan Protein Allergies

Unlike whey/casein, vegan protein powders have no dairy. Instead, the powders contain protein sources from several different plants, like peas, brown rice or even hemp. (If you’d like to know more about vegan protein powder, check out this other article: On Vegan Protein Powder- Better Than Whey? ) Although the sources have a much less chance of allergic reactions, they may still pose as allergies to some people…

Pea Protein

Although uncommon, pea allergies do exist. Peas are actually in the same family as peanuts, a quite allergic reaction causing food. People who are allergic to peanuts have a very good chance of being allergic to pea protein. I say pea protein because peas are processed when making the supplementation, and it still can cause a reaction when consumed.

Brown Rice Protein

Brown rice protein powder is hypoallergenic, meaning it is rare to have it cause an allergic reaction. It seems like a very well fit protein for anyone…except with individuals allergic to rice. The rice in the protein powder, or any rice for that matter, may cause sneezing, stomachache, asthma or eczema.

Hemp Protein

Also being hypoallergenic, hemp protein may also cause allergic reactions. The main reason behind this allergy to hemp seeds is that hemp comes from Sativa, the flowering buds atop of the plant. Why is this a problem? Well, the top of a plant comes to contact with pollen, a VERY common allergen.

How To Get Away From These Allergies

If you experience any of the listed symptoms listed here, there are ways of avoiding them…

1. Switch Protein Powder Brands

The first step into preventing your symptoms is changing where it is coming from. If your certain protein is causing bloating, gassiness, stuffiness, it may be a good idea to switch up your protein brand. Even if the protein powder claims to be high quality, it could be time for a change-up. Experiment with another brand to see what changes, you may even find a new favorite taste.

2. Switching The Protein Type

If switching the brand of protein doesn’t seem to cut it, it may be the type itself may be the causation of the allergic reactions. If whey or casein seems to be causing some problems, try switching to vegan for a while to see if that does that trick. The same goes from vegan protein going to dairy-based protein.

3.Switching the Protein Amount

If it seems like none of these suggestions have done you any good, it may have to do with the overall amount of protein powder you’re consuming. As hard as it may be, try cutting out some protein powder in your diet to let your stomach completely digest it. It may be that your small intestine isn’t producing enough lactase while you consume too much dairy it cannot even handle. Or for a vegan protein, you’re consuming too much protein that puts your immune system into a frenzy.


In conclusion, protein powder is quite the blessing, but may also be a curse. You can see it as a double-edged sword, while great for achieving your daily protein intake, it may come with some undesired side effects that some people can handle, while others have to step away from.

If you have any questions regarding allergies with a certain protein type, feel free to leave it down below along with any comments you have on the matter.


  1. RoDarrick

    Hello, excellent overview you have given up here concerning the allergic risks associated with the protein powder and that’s such a nice thing to do. I have suffered great deal from hemp powder. Though I make use of it majorly in line to help cure my anxiety disorder, however, it has not been in line for me at all since my body reacts negatively to it. Getting to understand ones allergies is a great step in the right direction that can help to preserve one’s health. Great post

  2. Carlton

    You know, at first? I thought this article was about hayfever or just allergies in general? Just, from the main photos displayed. I think it might be better to change the pic to photos of someone ingesting protein powder!

    You can even add a few of them. First, one a person drinking the protein powder, second photo side effects and last pic a person on the toilet or in the hospital. Just, a little advice! Thank you and keep up the good work! Your content is excellent. I wish I could write content a lot better. Anyway, great job and have a successful day!

  3. Kelyee

    Hello, I really like your post! At first I thought it was a little to long, but I was wrong! Very easy to read and not long at all. I’m glade I read your post because I didn’t know we could be allergenic to protein powder. Which it’s great that you also mention how to avoid certain ones. I did have a question on the Hemp you were talking about. I’m questioning it because is hemp the only problem or over all cannabis? I want to know because marijuana also includes sativa? So,I’m guessing is indica a better solution?

    • Jose Gallegos

      Hey Kelyee, I’m not too sure what your question is. I am not aware of any protein powder that contains indica because hemp is the main protein source for certain vegan protein powders.

  4. Adyns68

    I really enjoyed reading your post. It is very informative. I have been a vegetarian for sometimes and I have seen people who have never tested an animal protein and tried it for the first time to develop allergic reactions. But it was not clear if was due to the animal protein or anything else they took with the meet.

     Is it possible for someone to be allergic to animal protein and not vegan protein? And if that is the case can the person just continue using the vegan protein?


    • Jose Gallegos

      Hi Adyns68, it is very possible for someone to only allergic to animal protein and not vegan protein. That’s also one of the main reasons vegan protein exists, to eliminate risks of animal protein allergic reactions. If not allergic to any ingredients inside of vegan protein, it should be safe to consume.

  5. AmDetermined

    Your post on protein powder allergy is very educating and helpful because am a patient of allergy but I don’t know the cause and I love drinking milk a lot I learned from your post on the solution by switching the intake of my protein, I have a cousin who also face this problem for this reason am going to share your post on my social media for him and others to also learn because the reaction to the body is not comfortable

    • Jose Gallegos

      Hey AmDetermined, I really appreciate the share on your social media platform! I just love to inform the public about the potential risks (and also benefits) of protein powders.

  6. Joseph Amigo Matonge

    This excellent post is very helpful to many people who have allergies, but are unable to tell the root cause of those allergies. My wife shows signs of anaphylaxis symptoms and this discovery has to be pursued in detail. She suspects certain flowers including wild flowers as causing her discomfort, but being a lover of milk, her stomach may not tolerate lactose digestion. Thank you for sharing.

    • Jose Gallegos

      Hey Joseph, yea anaphylaxis can be pretty serious and is something to be cautious of. It may be because of her lactose intolerance. 

      Of course, I love to share risks and benefits of protein powder.

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