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Whey protein is the protein from whey, the watery portion of milk that separates from the curds when making cheese. It is commonly used as a protein supplement.

Whey protein might improve the nutrient content of the diet and also have effects on the immune system.

People commonly use whey protein for improving athletic performance and increasing strength. Whey protein is also used for asthma, diabetes, weight loss, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.

Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
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  • Athletic performance.  Regular consumption of whey protein in conjunction with exercise may improve muscle strength and performance. However, inconsistent consumption of whey protein, as well as intake of whey protein without concomitant exercise, may not be beneficial.
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When taken by mouth: Whey protein is likely safe for most adults when taken appropriately. High doses can cause some side effects such as increased bowel movements, acne, nausea, thirst, bloating, reduced appetite, tiredness, and headache.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if whey protein is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Whey protein is likely safe for children when used in amounts commonly found in food or when included in infant formulas.

Milk allergy: If you are allergic to cow's milk, avoid using whey protein.

Alendronate (Fosamax)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Whey protein can decrease how much alendronate (Fosamax) the body absorbs. Taking whey protein and alendronate (Fosamax) at the same time can decrease the effectiveness of alendronate (Fosamax). Don't take whey protein within two hours of taking alendronate (Fosamax).

Antibiotics (Quinolone antibiotics)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Whey protein might decrease how much antibiotic the body absorbs. Taking whey protein along with some antibiotics might decrease the effectiveness of some antibiotics. To avoid this interaction take whey protein supplements at least one hour after antibiotics.

Some of these antibiotics that might interact with whey protein include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), enoxacin (Penetrex), norfloxacin (Chibroxin, Noroxin), sparfloxacin (Zagam), trovafloxacin (Trovan), and grepafloxacin (Raxar).

Antibiotics (Tetracycline antibiotics)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Whey protein contains calcium. The calcium in whey protein can attach to tetracyclines in the stomach. This decreases the amount of tetracyclines that can be absorbed. Taking calcium with tetracyclines might decrease the effectiveness of tetracyclines. To avoid this interaction take whey protein two hours before or four hours after taking tetracyclines.

Some tetracyclines include demeclocycline (Declomycin), minocycline (Minocin), and tetracycline (Achromycin).

Levodopa

Interaction Rating=Major Do not take this combination.

Whey protein might decrease how much levodopa the body absorbs. By decreasing how much levodopa the body absorbs, whey protein might decrease the effectiveness of levodopa. Do not take whey protein and levodopa at the same time.

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

There are no known interactions with foods.

Whey protein has most often been used by adults in doses of up to 30 grams by mouth daily for up to 6 months. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific purpose.

Bovine Whey Protein Concentrate, Concentré de Protéine de Petit-Lait Bovin, Fraction de Lactosérum, Fraction de Petit-Lait, Goat Milk Whey, Goat Whey, Isolat de Protéine de Lactosérum, Isolat de Protéine de Petit-Lait, Lactosérum de Lait de Chèvre, MBP, Milk Protein, Milk Protein Isolate, Mineral Whey Concentrate, Proteínas del Suero de la Leche, Protéine de Lactosérum, Protéine de Lait, Protéine de Petit-Lait, Whey, Whey Fraction, Whey Peptides, Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Hydrolysate, Whey Protein Isolate, WPC, WPI.

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