Is Whey Protein Safe?

You should talk to your healthcare provider about potential safety concerns of whey protein before taking the supplement. For example, you may not be able to use whey protein if you have any chronic or severe medical condition or if you have certain allergies. Whey protein safety warnings also extend to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Is Whey Protein Safe?

Whey protein is a popular dietary supplement, claimed to be beneficial for a variety of different uses. You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking whey protein if you:
  • Have any chronic or severe medical condition
  • Have any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • Are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding.
You should also make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Warnings and Precautions

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of concerning the safety of whey protein include the following:
  • Whey protein is derived from milk. Some unrefined forms of whey protein may also contain lactose, which can cause problems in people with lactose intolerance. Also, people with milk allergies may develop allergic reactions to whey protein (although some forms of whey protein are less likely to cause allergies). Seek immediate medical attention if you develop signs of an allergic reaction, such as:


    • A rash or hives
    • Itching
    • Swelling of the lips, mouth, or throat
    • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
    • Diarrhea, vomiting, or blood in the stool (especially in infants).


  • As dietary supplements, whey protein supplements are not as closely regulated as prescription (or non-prescription) drugs. They can be marketed without any proof that they are either safe or effective. Do not assume that just because a product is sold or advertised in the United States that it is safe or effective. Make sure to look for whey protein supplements from a reputable manufacturer. Your pharmacist is a good resource for information about which manufacturers are the most reputable.
  • If you have a chronic or severe medical condition, it is always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before taking any medication or supplement, including whey protein.


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