Are Whey Protein Supplements Safe for Gout?

Gout Questions Answered

The market is being flooded by a lot of food supplements. There are supplements that promise to help in weight control, diabetes management, and even whitening. One type of supplement involves whey proteins, usually in the form of protein shakes. Whey proteins come from whey. Whey is a byproduct when cheese is made. Specifically, it is the liquid part, and the solid part is what we call curd. The manufacturers mention that they could help in reducing the risks of heart disease and even cancer. They also claim that whey protein supplements also help in body building because of its high protein content.

However, that same protein content makes people wonder if it could increase the likelihood of other diseases to occur or worsen, specifically gout. Basically, gout is an inflammation of the big toe. It is considered as an inflammatory type of arthritis characterized by redness, tenderness, and swelling. This condition is caused by an overabundance of uric acid in the system. Usually, the uric acid accumulates in a person’s system when there’s a problem in the breakdown of purines – usually found from protein-rich foods. If the purines do not break down properly, uric acid accumulates and crystallizes into tiny crystals that come into the joints of the big toe, causing gout. This begs the question: are whey protein supplements safe for people with gout?

Little is known about whey proteins and their effects on people with gout. However, there are some items that could be considered when sipping your favorite whey protein shake, especially if you’re concerned about gout.

According to some websites, whey protein supplements are actually low on purines. In fact, they claim that the process that the whey undergoes before they get to the familiar forms that we see such as protein shakes takes care of separating the milk by a process of isolation, whey protein should contain only small amounts of it. At any rate, dairy-based products are already low in purine content, so according to some experts, there’s little to no major threat. Moreover, a study in 2004 actually claimed that people who had a high intake of dairy products actually had lower risks for getting gout. Some say that this is because dairy products actually help our kidneys excrete uric acid better.

On the other hand, considering that whey protein supplements contain other substances that need to be filtered by the kidneys, there’s still a chance of getting gout. Since they are the major organs that filter out harmful substances from our body, the increased protein in your system could make it harder for them to do their job. Even if the whey protein supplements and protein shakes that we drink are not necessarily high in purines, they may lower your abilities to excrete uric acid.

As with all kinds of medication and health supplements, whey proteins still need to be further studied. Even though they have health benefits, something in it could be harmful for somebody. Also, there is not enough scientific study to link whey proteins to gout, so we cannot say yea or nay to this for certain. What is certain though is for you to consult with your physician regarding your condition, especially since supplements, specifically protein supplements, may have an effect on our bodies even if they come in the form of innocuous protein shakes.

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