Although many sports nutrition supplements are recommended for use by those who are at least 18 years of age, protein supplements are popular among teenagers. These supplements are high in protein and usually low in carbohydrates and fat and are intended to improve muscle growth, muscle recovery and overall athletic performance. These results are related to the fact that protein contains amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle and other tissues in your body. Despite the potential advantages, using protein supplements may put you at risk for side effects. Consult a doctor before using protein products or any other supplements.
Prevention of Natural Creatine Production
The amino acid creatine is included in many protein supplements, as it is believed to enhance athletic performance. As the University of Maryland Medical Center explains, creatine has been shown to improve muscle mass and enhance strength in research studies. The center notes that these effects are most prominent in younger individuals, but warns there are dangers of creatine as well. One risk is that the supplementation of creatine will interfere with your body's natural production of creatine, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. This suggests that your body may become reliant on creatine supplements and cease creatine production.
The most common form of protein in protein supplements is whey protein, which is derived from dairy products. As the Center for Young Women's Health explains, this means that whey protein contains lactose, a natural sugar. Unfortunately, you may not be able to completely break down the lactose you ingest in whey protein as a result of a condition known as lactose intolerance. The Center for Young Women's Health notes that lactose intolerance triggers a number of unpleasant effects, including, but not limited to, stomach cramps, and that whey protein may cause these effects.
High Blood Acidity
According to the fitness and nutrition website Project Swole, overuse of protein supplements may have several potentially harmful effects. Among them is the risk of high blood acidity. According to Project Swole, protein consumption leads to your blood having an acidic pH. In order to restore your blood to a normal pH, your body will release extra calcium into your blood, explains Project Swole. Unfortunately, this calcium comes from your bones, and a lack of calcium may compromise bone strength. This may be particularly dangerous for teens, whose bodies are still developing.
According to Project Swole, another potential danger of protein supplement use is the risk of kidney stones. The website explains that the calcium that your body uses to even out the pH level of your blood is eventually transported to your kidneys to await excretion through your urine. However, if there is too much calcium in your kidneys, it will collect and form kidney stones, which cause pain when they pass out of your system.