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Whey protein powder shakes are a great supplement in anyone’s toolkit, especially for someone looking to get lean and stay fit.

They’re especially great for those who are doing bodybuilding seriously.

Although, unfortunately, not everyone’s body agrees with whey protein, and can be harmful to those with allergies, especially when they’re derived from milk-based products.

Whey is a by-product of dairy and is produced after milk has been curdled. Although whey is widely used in countless sports supplements and powders, some people don’t always often tolerate it that well.

Now, before you race out and get an allergy test, there are often some common signs that can help you determine this immediately.

Knowing these signs will not only save you time from racing out to see a doctor but also money on whey protein powders that you might actually be allergic to.

If you really want to be sure, don’t let me stop you from checking with your doctor, just in case.

In the meantime, here are four signs that you may be allergic to your whey protein powder and might want to consider a non-dairy, plant-based protein powder instead.


1. Digestive Issues in the Abdomen

Generally, your abdominal area can give you some pretty dead giveaway signs that you’re are allergic to whey protein powder.

This is often more critical (and usually more alarming) in people suffering from lactose intolerance, indicating that these people are highest on the list in avoiding whey.

If you find you are experiencing some digestive discomfort when you consume whey protein powder, it may be a strong indication that you are allergic to it.

Symptoms such as stomach cramps, diarrhoea, and feeling bloated or having excessive gas are all red flag signs of a whey protein allergy (Flom & Sicherer, 2019).


2. Allergic Reactions on the Skin

Sometimes just cracking open a tub of whey protein powder can give you an almost immediate indication that you have an allergy to whey.

Often, when we are most allergic to something, simply inhaling an allergic substance can bring on a rapid onset of hives or rashes in the skin (Giannetti et al., 2019).

Although the level of the reaction can vary, this sort of response can be a pretty good indication that you may be allergic to whey.


3. Loss of Feeling in the Extremities

Although less common, other allergic reactions involve a loss of feeling in the hands.

This is the type of reaction that often occurs within an hour after ingestion, and may also present more as an itching or tingling sensation (Kansu et al., 2016).

As mentioned, this is fairly uncommon, and loss of feeling in your extremities is generally not good. If this happens frequently for a prolonged period of time, you may need to get this checked with your local health care practitioner.


4. Swelling of the Mouth, Lips, or Tongue

If you experience swelling in your lips, tongue, and mouth area post-consumption of whey protein powder, this is a sure-fire sign that you are allergic.

This would generally be classed as a severe allergic reaction, otherwise coined as an anaphylaxis response.

Besides ceasing consumption of your whey protein product, it is also recommended to seek immediate medical attention if this were ever to happen (Kansu et al., 2016).


The Takeaway

As you can see, there is a range of common symptoms that can be a fairly good indication of a whey protein powder allergy.

The good news is there are plenty of non-dairy, plant-based protein powders available with just as much protein if not more than whey.

Some good options include:
Designer Physique Organic Sprouted Brown Rice Protein Powder
Designer Physique Pea Protein Isolate Powder
Designer Physique Vege Pro Carob Protein Powder

There are plenty of flavours available and you can’t even tell the difference!

Looking to learn more about Plant protein powders? Read our article on the 5 Amazing Benefits of Pea Protein Powder or the various ways you can Use Sprouted Brown Rice Protein Powder to Optimise Exercise Performance, Endurance, Recovery, and More.

Have you had an allergic reaction to whey protein powder? Let us know in the comments.



  1. Flom, J. D., & Sicherer, S. H. (2019). Epidemiology of cow’s milk allergy. Nutrients11(5), 1051. doi:10.3390/nu11051051
  2. Giannetti, A., Cipriani, F., Indio, V., Gallucci, M., Caffarelli, C., & Ricci, G. (2019). Influence of atopic dermatitis on cow’s milk allergy in children. Medicina55(8), 460. doi:10.3390/medicina55080460
  3. Kansu, A., Yüce, A., Dalgıç, B., Şekerel, B. E., Çullu-Çokuğraş, F., & Çokuğraş, H. (2016). Consensus statement on diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of cow’s milk protein allergy among infants and children in Turkey. The Turkish Journal of Pediatrics58(1), 1. doi:10.24953/turkjped.2016.01.001

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