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It’s time to check your protein powder is tested for heavy metals


Heavy metals are increasingly contaminating dietary supplements. The health impacts include cancer, brain and kidney damage, affected thyroid function, nausea, headaches and much more.

According to a study conducted on supplements in Dubai in 2019, “exposure to high doses of these heavy metals also affect the nervous system including reluctance, irritability, muscle rigidity, visual and auditory dysfunction, and memory impairment.”

Short-term effects of heavy metal exposure, even for a short period of time, can include “abdominal distress (nausea, vomiting), circulatory abnormalities, respiratory damage, ophthalmologic irritation and skin rashes”.

We must be very aware that worldwide cases of diabetes, many mental health conditions and cancer are, sadly, increasing. The world that we live in is becoming increasingly dependent on unnatural and processed foodstuffs and this is a contributing factor.

The Clean Label Project conducted a study, testing 134 popular protein powder brands for heavy metals. The study revealed that many of the protein powders contained detectible levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, BPA, mycotoxins, pesticides and residual solvents.

People assume that protein powders are regulated just like drugs on the market, however, this is not the case. It is up to you to ask your supplier whether they test for heavy metals. There are enough brands on the market now that do, such as Vivo Life, Gorilla and SB nutrition, so if you really want to reduce your chances of getting long-term health conditions, the power really lies in your own hands.

In 2018, there were 1.7 million new cases of cancer worldwide, according to Cancer Research UK statistics.

In 2017, “the global prevalence of chronic kidney disease was 9·1%... and since 1990, the prevalence of CKD has increased by 29·3%” according to a journal, The global burden of chronic kidney disease, published in February 2020.

Research-backed dangers of heavy metals on our long-term health

“Lead has been identified as a human carcinogenic risk factor as declared by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This heavy metal has the ability to distress the body organs. If the human body is exposed to lead for a long period of time, then this might lead to poor neurological performance, weakness, an increase in blood pressure and anaemia” according to the study conducted on supplements in Dubai, in 2019.

The study continues: “Severe brain and kidney damage and in worst case fatality could also happen when the human body is exposed to high doses of lead. High levels of exposure to lead can also induce miscarriage in pregnant women and spermatogenesis in men.”

“The EPA has also identified both mercuric chloride and methyl mercury as possible causes of human carcinogenicity. Areas affected by excessive exposure to mercuric chloride and methyl mercury are brain, kidneys as well as developing foetus for pregnant women.”

Another study conducted in 2020, A human health risk assessment of heavy metal ingestion among consumers of protein powder supplements, stated: “The average amounts of heavy metals in three servings of protein powder per day exceeded the maximum limits in dietary supplements proposed by US Pharmacopeia. In a follow up to the Consumer Reports analysis, another study reported that 40 % of the 133 protein powder products they tested had elevated levels of heavy metals.”

The same study reported that Cadmium (Cd), Mercury (Hg), and Lead (Pb) “have been associated with adverse human health effects, potentially including carcinogenesis, neurotoxicity, nephrotoxicity and reproductive issues.”

“For example, chronic exposure to Cd is associated with renal disease, thyroid disruption, and weakened bones, while chronic exposure to Arsenic (As) is associated with dermal lesions and carcinogenic effects.”

Skin conditions

Skin rashes are an example of another health condition which can be caused by the heavy metals in supplements including protein powders. Heavy metal exposure if often a cause that many people do not even consider.

After taking SB nutrition’s heavy metal-tested vegan protein powder, customer Harjott said: “This is the only shake I've taken and doesn't show side effects to my skin, as I was having skin reactions to all the protein shakes/supplements I was taking before.”

Gallbladder formation

“Accumulation of heavy and toxic metals in the biliary system is one of the main causes of gallstone formation and leads to gallbladder cancer if it remains untreated” according to a research article published in 2019.

A customer of SB nutrition, Kulbir, who has previously suffered with gallbladder problems, said in a review: “As I have experienced gallbladder problems with previous protein powders, this one has been pain free.”

The benefit of natural protein powders for long-term health

“For many years, I only took protein supplements Such as USN Pure Protein and Optimum Nutrition Pure Protein” said another customer of SB nutrition, Ronny. “My focus was to find a shake which gave me my desired amount of protein intake from a shake. What I didn't look at was the small print which says all the other rubbish stuff I am putting into my body.”

“I struggled for some time to find protein supplements that is fully natural as I am worried if I continue taking supplements that have rubbish in, it will lead to health issues when I am older. Many supplements claim they are natural yet they still have a few bad stuff in it which is misleading. I feel blessed to come across this protein supplement that is completely natural and contains no rubbish.”

You can take a look at SB nutrition’s protein powder here.

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