Protein Shakes = Cramped Bowels??

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 11, 2011 7:24 AM GMT
    Lately, I've been getting severe cramps right below my belly button from (I assume) drinking protein shakes in the morning, pre/post-workout and casein protein at night. It's gotten so bad that a cough or even a laugh hurts. At one point, I've passed blood during one of my bathroom trips and I've nearly freaked out.

    I quit drinking those shakes and I took stool softeners to pass my excrements. Luckily, the pain went away and my bowel movements have returned to normal.

    The brand I've been using is Optimum Nutrition Whey and Casein. Is there any other "safe" brand you recommend? Should I just eliminate it altogether and use food as a protein source? I'd hate to lose my muscle mass over cramps but I got to listen to my body and do what it tells me.

    HELP!!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 11, 2011 11:51 AM GMT
    Try introducing shakes back one at a time. I've tried that (no blood but no stool) where I was fine after I dropped the shakes for a week and then put them back half a scoop per day.

    That's a lot of shakes btw. You can't replace any of them with food?
  • hebrewman

    Posts: 1367

    Feb 11, 2011 11:54 AM GMT
    you might be developing IBS or, you might even have a border line lactose problem. then again, you might have enough protein in your standard diet, and the bowel cramping is a sign that your body is trying to get rid of it. too much is too much of anything. just a suggestion
  • NHsports

    Posts: 52

    Feb 11, 2011 3:16 PM GMT
    I have not had problems that severe but a lactose or gluten intolerance may be contributing to the pain and blood.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 11, 2011 3:25 PM GMT
    I went to target and bought a hamilton beach coffee grinder, and a container of quick oats. Take 1/2 cup of oatmeal and put it into the grinder...set to espresso, and 12 cup maximum, and it turns it to powder.

    Add the powder to your protein drink, shake vigorously....voila! You get complex carbs, and fiber that should keep things moving along, and it tatses pretty good.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 11, 2011 4:36 PM GMT
    40PPS saidI went to target and bought a hamilton beach coffee grinder, and a container of quick oats. Take 1/2 cup of oatmeal and put it into the grinder...set to espresso, and 12 cup maximum, and it turns it to powder.

    Add the powder to your protein drink, shake vigorously....voila! You get complex carbs, and fiber that should keep things moving along, and it tatses pretty good.

    I think I'll do what you suggested but like pre-mortem said, in smaller doses. That way I can gauge how my plumbing is handling it.

    Hebrewman, not knowing what IBS stands for, I googled it. You hit that right on the nail and I'm depressed! It advised that I:

    - Avoid foods and drinks that stimulate the intestines (such as caffeine, tea, or colas) COFFEE?!?!? I GOTTA HAVE MY COFFEE!!!!!!!! icon_evil.gif
    - Avoid large meals - no problem there.
    - Avoid wheat, rye, barley, chocolate, milk products, and alcohol. WHEAT?! CHOCOLATE?! MILK PRODUCTS?!?!? ALCOHOL?! SHOOT ME NOW!!!!!!!!!!! icon_evil.gif
    - Increase dietary fiber. Outta da way, bugsy and thumpa. Gotta get to the garden!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 11, 2011 6:08 PM GMT
    I used to get GI symptoms when I used milk instead of water for my shakes. But also, if I don't use ENOUGH water, I also get GI symptoms from the osmotic effect of the protein. So before you freak out about IBS, try:

    1) not using milk, and finding a lactose-free protein powder (Most of them are to begin with)

    2) try adding more water. Makes for a thinner shake, but it beats the GI upset.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 11, 2011 7:40 PM GMT
    Switch to brown rice protein powder. Does not taste as good but people who have difficulty with dairy/soy/eggs use the rice version.

    Some people use hemp protein powder, but when I tried that one it was awful -- tastes like seeds and stems. Nevertheless the proponents swear by hemp.

    You may also try a pure, unflavoured, unsweetened whey protein isolate, one that has no other protein or additives -- just the isolate. Most protein powders have various sweeteners and flavourings, often artificial. You may be sensitive to one of these and not realize it. I certainly am.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 11, 2011 8:19 PM GMT
    The colour of the blood presenting says everything about where the source is.
    If it is bright red, then it is probably just a fissura ani (anal fissure). This is the most common cause for men of your age. Was the blood just on the toilet paper?

    When it is darker of colour, has a really foul smell, is shiny then it is called melaena. This is caused by an upper GI tract bleeding. The colour and smell is caused by the (partially) breakdown and digestion of hemoglobin. Causes include peptic ulcers, gastritis, bleeding in the oesophagus etc. If the latter is the case, you should consult your physician.

    I'm guessing you had a tear of your anal phincter, because of the diarrhea and constant wiping caused by a large intake of protein shakes. As others have suggested, you might be lactose-intolerant. Do you have this problem when you consume milk products?


    -NOTE I am still in medschool and don't have my degree yet. If the problem continues, you should consult your physician
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 11, 2011 8:22 PM GMT
    ive been using that same brand and ive been noticing the same thing also~

    o_o


    glad to see it's not just me tho
  • hebrewman

    Posts: 1367

    Feb 11, 2011 10:07 PM GMT
    ryansuxx saidive been using that same brand and ive been noticing the same thing also~

    o_o


    glad to see it's not just me tho


    okay guys, seeing this it could be something that is in the powder itself. many ingredients and binding agents can cause symptoms. your body could be developing a reaction to same. as our bodies age, there are allergies that we develop and sometimes grow out of, depending on our immune systems etc. i will give you an example. i used to be able to eat eggs and egg products until about 3 years ago. after i consumed even one egg, always scrambled well, my guts would turn to liquid. once everything was evacuated, i was fine. now i know its gross, but it is what happened. i find that if i eat organic eggs, or, even egglands best eggs, i am fine. it all depends on what the hens are raised on. same for chicken. i often eat organic or kosher chicken and i'm fine. anything else and the 'launch code' goes off within 90 minutes. and i know its off the subject, but same holds true for my dog. boston terriers have really picky digestive tracts and it took a while, and many many, sleepless nights when he was a puppy before i found something that he could digest and tolerate. he is also lactose intolerant. REALLY lactose intolerant. feel free to email me and i can give you the details, but suffice it to say, a friend of mine gave him some cheese one day and during our walk, NO human being should have to pick up what i did. he does great on a diet of canine caviar dry and hills prescription wet and only low protein wheat free buddy biscuits. so yeah, i think you could have several things going on, but as someone else on here said, if this is a source of concern, a dietitian and your personal physician can be the best source for you.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 11, 2011 10:12 PM GMT
    That sounds like diverticulosis...in particular a variant called "painful diverticulosis". If the pain is in the lower left part of your abdomen, that's a classic symtom.

    However, the blood in your BM suggests something more. It could be diverticulitis...which means one of pockets (diverticuli) has become infected.

    I'd see a doctor about that, because if it is the latter, you need antibiotics.

    If it's the former (I have lots of experience with that), a short term solution is donnatol (sp.?), that is a prescription drug that relieves the spasm (your colon has gone into a spasm....in sort of a narrowed condition, sort of in mid contraction). The long term solution for me was increasing fiber.

    Even though I have a healthy diet, I introduced psyllium husks (that's Metamucil) in wafer form, which adds bulk to your stool. That was six years ago.

    I have not had an "attack" since. You can private mail me if you want more info.
  • imbrad

    Posts: 377

    Feb 11, 2011 10:20 PM GMT
    i really like my supplement. It's low carb and fat with a well rounded blend of plant and animal protiens. I've been taking it for years with NO side effects like these. It's formulated to be easily and EFFICIENTLY digested (so your body uses is... the toilet doesn't)

    go to denver.wearewinners.com to ask for more info! i couldn't ask for a better supplement line.
  • Beeftastic

    Posts: 1747

    Feb 11, 2011 10:30 PM GMT
    You could be having a reaction to artificial sweeteners. Splenda can give you lots of GI irritation. I know it gives me massive gas, so no Splenda for me.

    Adding fiber to your shakes is the best advice I can give. I put a lot of fiber in my shakes and I think it helps you digest them better.

    I spilled a whey protein shake and cleaned it up with a workout towel. Left the towel drying for a few days and then I went to pick it up it was like the towel had been dipped in latex paint. Really hard paint like shell. Washing it didn't get it out either. The point is that you really shouldn't be putting that directly in your body without some fiber to help break it up and digest.

    Also, since your body can't absorb more than about 15 grams of protein at a time, loading with 50 grams of protein at one sitting in a shake might not be that good for your bowels either. break it up into more servings or sip over time.

    I make my protien shakes from scratch with low fat milk, some unsweetened yogurt, whey powder, dextrose, fiber, creative L-glutamine, organic cocoa (a really healthy food source), tumeric and vanilla. They taste amazing and they are better for me than any pre-packaged shake.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 12, 2011 7:01 AM GMT
    I was alerted to comment on this thread.

    It could be any number of things in the shakes. Yes, as mentioned, artificial sweeteners don't agree with everyone. It could be something in the proprietary blend that they don't have to tell you about that is doing it. It could be a milk allergy of some type (to the protein or to the lactose). It could be some sort of irritable bowel immune reaction to something else in the supplement. Do you know what everything in that supplement is? I probably don't either, and I've studied this stuff for the past 7 years. Either way, your system is telling you to stop doing it, so STOP!

    Find another supplement if you like supplements, but they really aren't necessary at all. You don't need that much protein...stick with no more than 30g every 3 hrs. Your body can't process anymore and anything over what it can process gets converted to fat while you pee out the nitrogen component.

    Try crushed up soybeans. That's what I use for a protein "supplement," if you can call it one because it's actually real food. Soy is just as high quality protein and currently is associated with a plethora of health benefits and as it's inexpensive as rice.

    I doubt it is diverticulosis because his symptoms go away when he stops using the supplement.

    The fact that you are constipated could mean you aren't eating your 9 fruits and veggies everyday. Do you ever eat beans? They're supposed to be eaten most to every day of the week, and they're a perfect source of complex carbs and a good source of protein if you eat enough (1 cup cooked is about 16g protein, which counts if you eat it with whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal, popcorn, sweet corn, etc. Soy has more protein than other beans and a higher quality of protein rendering it for all practical purposes a complete protein on its own).

    How often do you eat dark orange to red vegetables? How often do you eat dark green vegetables? The colors have different types of fiber and different vitamins and phytochemicals, and beans have a high amount of soluble fiber, which is why all three types of veggies are in the new dietary guidelines released a week ago.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 12, 2011 7:28 AM GMT
    All of you have been terrific, informing me of what you know!

    To be honest, I have not been eating as much fruits and veggies as I should have but I have started to increase my intake. I do love fruits and veggies, it's just that I go through phases. Love 'em one minute and meh, the next - knowing full well that I should stick with it, no matter what "mood" I'm in.

    I've never been lactose-intolerant but from what you're saying, my aging body may not be able to handle dairy as much as I used to and I am disheartened because I loooooooove milk!! However, I will ease back and see if anything changes.

    As for modifying my protein shakes, I heard everyone's suggestions. Starting tomorrow, I'm going to use less milk, more water, grind up the oatmeal and smaller amount of protein powder. I'll still add my wheat germ, flaxseed and cold-brewed coffee for energy.

    And to the last person above me, Bluey who asked me if I "ever eat beans"? Gawd, Bluey, I'm from New Orleans and my favorite dish in the WORLD is red beans and rice. Love it, love it, love it. In fact, had a bowl for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Needless to say, I've been pooting.

    Again, thanks everyone and keep pushing your bodies to the max. Y'all look awesome!
  • mybud

    Posts: 11819

    Feb 12, 2011 7:28 AM GMT
    I agree with some of the others above regarding protein shakes....if you can switch them out for real food...do it....For the casein cottage....cheese ..etc...shakes are for individuals that don't have the time to prepare "real" food options...BUD
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 12, 2011 7:35 AM GMT
    mybud saidI agree with some of the others above regarding protein shakes....if you can switch them out for real food...do it....For the casein cottage....cheese ..etc...shakes are for individuals that don't have the time to prepare "real" food options...BUD


    Tonight I went to buy some Greek Cottage Cheese but I didn't pay attention and bought Greek Style Yogurt instead. Very high in sugar - 32 g!!! But it had 18 g of protein. Rather than waste it, I took half a cup instead of the suggested serving - 1 cup. The taste is awesome but I'll have to stay away from that once it's finish. icon_sad.gif

    ps - I almost bought hummus which I loooooooove but I'd eat the whole container in one sitting.
  • mybud

    Posts: 11819

    Feb 12, 2011 7:38 AM GMT
    bigeasydude said
    mybud saidI agree with some of the others above regarding protein shakes....if you can switch them out for real food...do it....For the casein cottage....cheese ..etc...shakes are for individuals that don't have the time to prepare "real" food options...BUD


    Tonight I went to buy some Greek Cottage Cheese but I didn't pay attention and bought Greek Style Yogurt instead. Very high in sugar - 32 g!!! But it had 18 g of protein. Rather than waste it, I took half a cup instead of the suggested serving - 1 cup. The taste is awesome but I'll have to stay away from that once it's finish. icon_sad.gif

    ps - I almost bought hummus which I loooooooove but I'd eat the whole container in one sitting.


    Ditto brah...I make my own hummus and I have to watch it or I'll destroy it by morning.....BUD
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 12, 2011 5:16 PM GMT
    mybud said
    bigeasydude said
    mybud saidI agree with some of the others above regarding protein shakes....if you can switch them out for real food...do it....For the casein cottage....cheese ..etc...shakes are for individuals that don't have the time to prepare "real" food options...BUD


    Tonight I went to buy some Greek Cottage Cheese but I didn't pay attention and bought Greek Style Yogurt instead. Very high in sugar - 32 g!!! But it had 18 g of protein. Rather than waste it, I took half a cup instead of the suggested serving - 1 cup. The taste is awesome but I'll have to stay away from that once it's finish. icon_sad.gif

    ps - I almost bought hummus which I loooooooove but I'd eat the whole container in one sitting.


    Ditto brah...I make my own hummus and I have to watch it or I'll destroy it by morning.....BUD


    If your hummus is any healthier than store bought, let me (us) know the recipe and by the way, I love my hummus to be SPICY! The brand I usually buy, Sabra Supremely Spicy Hummus is to die for and I buy spicy pita chips to go with it or dip turkey pepperoni in it or slather a slice of ham and roll it up. Awesome!!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 22, 2011 1:28 AM GMT
    Thought I bump this and let everyone know that I'm back on protein shakes without any problems. I bought a new container of protein powder, grinded up 8 packets of plain oatmeal, dumped it in the container and shook it to distribute the mixture. Haven't had any problems with my plumbing since.

    I'm back on track!!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 22, 2011 1:35 AM GMT
    Let me be the first to congratulate you on your regularity!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 23, 2011 9:11 PM GMT
    Timely information! I've had the same problem the past few weeks and traced it to my protein powder, which has made my stool too hard. :S It's very annoying because powder is super expensive in Sweden!
  • Halcyonz

    Posts: 157

    Mar 23, 2011 9:29 PM GMT
    bigeasydude saidThought I bump this and let everyone know that I'm back on protein shakes without any problems. I bought a new container of protein powder, grinded up 8 packets of plain oatmeal, dumped it in the container and shook it to distribute the mixture. Haven't had any problems with my plumbing since.

    I'm back on track!!


    Sounds good. I would recommend adding some Phylum Husk Powder or another fiber source to your diet as well. A lot of GI problems with irregular bowel movements can be traced to an inadequate insoluble fiber intake. Oatmeal will not help with this because it's a soluble fiber, which means your body is going to eat it up (good for lowering some ldl #s).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 28, 2011 2:24 PM GMT
    Other major factor is making sure you are getting enough water throughout the day. I had the same issues early on but the water helped drastically. I will typically go through a gallon of water in any given day.