Protein supplements are useful or dangerous?

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 15.08.2021

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27 October 2017, 09:00

A huge number of people all over the world regularly buy protein supplements and protein powders. Athletes attending gyms use such supplements to increase muscle volume, women take them for weight loss, and many people just consume protein, considering it healthy. Is it really? A similar question was first voiced after the death of a young Australian athlete Megan Hefford: she adhered to high protein nutrition and took protein for several years. It turned out that the woman was sick with a pathology, which is very difficult to diagnose today: it is a genetic disease associated with a violation of the assimilation of protein. The frequency of detection of such a disease is one case by 8.5 thousand people. Doctors say that the quality and safety of protein supplements is almost not controlled - as, for example, in the manufacture of medicines. Therefore, we can not confidently talk about the benefits of this product. At the same time, nutrition professor Wayne Campbell believes that the main low-quality component may be not the protein itself, but other auxiliary ingredients. In 2010, one of the scientific groups tested 15 protein supplements. As a result, they found high concentrations of mercury, cadmium, lead and arsenic. Three supplements from the drugs presented did not pass the US sanitary standards compliance test at all. However, these additives were available for sale in free access. Moreover, most protein cocktails contained a different amount of protein than what was stated on the label. As the expert-nephrologist Dr. Andrzej Rastogi explains, 50-60 grams of protein per day is optimal for a healthy person. In aggregate, such amount of protein is contained, for example, in 180-200 g of chicken fillet. If a person is abusing a protein, the kidneys are under great strain at the same time - often all ends with the development of kidney failure. People with diabetes, pyelonephritis, and elderly people and children are especially at risk. Unfortunately, the mass consumption of protein shakes by teenagers (mostly boys) for sporting purposes is increasingly common. This issue is quite painful and contradictory: many experts are inclined to believe that risk - even for sports - is not entirely justified. "We often explain to parents that the quality and composition of protein supplements are not controlled, and the excess of proteins damages the kidneys. The child is fully capable of receiving the necessary amount of protein with food. Of course, we can not say that we treat protein cocktails as a terrible phenomenon - no. But we can not advise them for use, "the doctor explains. Doctors recommend: before making a decision about the use of protein powders, take tests and go for examination, consult a therapist and a nutritionist. Such examinations are desirable to be held regularly, if you still decide to take such supplements.

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