heavy metals

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Is Your Protein Powder Toxic?

By |August 30th, 2010|

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Consumer Reports Sounds the Alarm!  

Consumer Reports, one of the most trusted guides for buying reputable products, has found heavy metals in protein supplements and is warning you to use caution.

 Officials for Consumer Reports say they purchased 15 protein powders and drinks mainly in the New York metro area or online and tested multiple samples of each for arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury.

 The results were very disturbing, considering how many people consume these highly processed food products and how MUCH they consume per day.

 

 The results showed a considerable range, but levels in three products were of particular concern because they exceeded the daily exposure limits proposed by USP for arsenic, cadmium or lead. This is if you assume 3 servings per day which is the average for most consumers. Some eat more and some eat less. For many products, levels of those contaminants were in the ‘low to moderate range.’

Personally I would not find even low to moderate exposure acceptable considering how many other toxic products we find in our environment. We have enough health considerations just dealing with life without wondering about a product we specifically consume for health or fitness!


Cadmium exposure is particularly scary
because it accumulates in and can damage the kidneys, the same organs that can be damaged by excessive protein consumption. It can take 20 years for the body to eliminate even half the cadmium absorbed today. 

Imagine what will happen to the large group of teenagers and twenty-somethings wanting to ‘bulk up’ today.  They are the ones who eat a LOT of these products and who may be in for a very unpleasant surprise some time from now.

 
“This (Cadmium) is a highly toxic metal, and while there are some cases where decisions have to be weighed against relative risks, accepting that you have to be exposed to any cadmium at all in your protein drink after your workout is definitely not one of them.”
says Michael Harbut, M.D., director of the Environmental Cancer Initiative at the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Royal Oak, Mich.


Even some plant sources can contain cadmium.  This is because of the heavy use of cadmium-containing phosphate fertilizers in commercial farming. Potatoes, rice, sunflower seeds, spinach and other leafy greens are susceptible, but this is not a problem if you are eating organic.


Below is the average finding for three serving of the protein drinks.

 


You can see that Muscle Milk and EAS were the most toxic brands while the whey products faired better than the rest generally. This is just a small sampling of products.  The protein powder you buy from the store may be better, but it also may be worse.

You can read the complete findings (5 pages) at Consumer Reports.