With the fitness trend on the rise, the variety of protein supplement products are gaining abundance. Products ranging from protein shakes, bars, gel, powders, and capsules are available and readily consumed by the masses. Protein is an essential component of our diet and is the building block of all body tissues as well as muscles. Consumption of protein supplements while maintaining an exercise routine, enhances the body’s metabolism, builds muscle mass, and improves physical performance. However, there is a long-standing debate over its benefits and detriments.
Creating a feeling of being full, protein supplements help in portion control and maintenance of a healthy weight. It is also associated with reducing the risk factors that might cause cardiovascular diseases by keeping in check cholesterol and blood pressure. For gym enthusiasts and athletes, the highlight of its consumption is that it helps in improving muscle size and builds muscle strength. Acting as a fuel for resistance exercise training, these supplements also aid the restoration of damaged tissues and muscles (Butler, 2018).
The presence of undesired substances i.e., heavy metal contaminants such as arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium can result in health hazards when consumed over long periods. The pro-hormones found in these supplements disrupt the hormonal balance and may impact growth and sexual development. Moreover, high protein content can have the worst impact on the renal system. Bad breath and unpleasant body odor are also side effects of high protein intake. Also, deficiency diseases may develop due to cutting out other nutrient sources (Holman, Kathuria, & Chen, 2010).
Protein supplements may be beneficial for athletes involved in resistance exercise training for bodybuilding and people who experience exercise-induced poor appetite. However, considering its side effects, individuals with underlying health conditions especially a history of gastric and renal concerns must avoid it.
Butler, N. (2018). What are the benefits of protein powder? Retrieved June 5, 2021, from Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323093
Holman, C., Kathuria, N., & Chen, Y. (2010). The dangers of protein drink supplements.