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Whey and Bad Skin?

Hi all! I have been suffering from bad skin on my face (looks a bit like eczema around my nose and eyes) for a few years and I have worked out just today that it is from dairy intake. Even when I wasn’t going to the gym, I used to have a large bowl of porridge for breakfast. I have been travelling for work for the last 6 months or so, and so haven’t had any dairy (I was in Asia where it is not readily available), and my skin has been great. However, I started back at the gym on Sunday and so started taking whey again and my skin has turned bad again. I haven’t been having porridge for breakfast for a couple of years now. My research on the internet has shown that dairy makes your body create a certain hormone which causes inflammation in the skin.

Has anybody else had this? What did you do to remedy the problem? I could buy hemp protein powder but the bioavailability and amino acids in it are nowhere near as good as whey. I could do hemp with EAAs? Casein is also dairy so probably not a good alternative. I am a bit stuck. Help!

I don’t know why you keep talking about porridge. Is there something you add to your porridge to make it dairy?

Well admittedly the oats don’t have much dairy in them but the half a pint of milk I put in with them may contain a bit. How do you make it?

With water these days. I cut the milk out, for totally different reasons. Makes it pretty dull though, so some frozen berries or nut butter (if you’re into that) can go a long way to making it edible

Yeah - so dull! I actually don’t have porridge at all these days. I have fruit, sheep yoghurt and a 3 egg omelette with a 2 scoop whey protein shake… which leads me back to my original question. What do I do about the protein powder reaction? Hemp and EAAs?
Something else entirely? I have 12 days to decide then I can’t return the 5kg of whey I have just bought.

I get the same issue from anything with dairy in it and am currently gradually cutting dairy out of my diet. Fortunately I dont get it on my face but i do get it on my chest and back in always the exact same place which is a bit odd. Anyway what you could do is buy vegan protein powder (apparently Ghost nutritions one tastes great). Amino acids are useless on a bulk/maintenance, but if you’re cutting and care that much about them then you could get the vegan protein and buy the amino acids separately.

Hi! I don’t mind the taste of the vegan powders. Used them in the past for just-before-bed so I can take ZMA too. Yeah, on my face it is the same - always the same place. The EAAs weren’t for anything other than to make up for the poorer amino acid profile in the vegan powder as compared to whey. I could cut it out tomorrow. The only dairy I consume is the occasional piece of cheese and some sheep’s milk yoghurt for my breakfast (aside from the whey). The problem I (we) have then is, where do I get my calcium from?

So overall your advice is, just take the hemp and it will be fine?

I am sensitive to milk, including whey protein. It affects my skin and also causes sinus congestion. I haven’t tried to put back in casien like Metabolic Drive, but partially hydrolyzed whey seems to cause the same effects.

On the other hand, Mag-10 does not seem to cause any problems. Based on the label, it is supposedly completely hydrolyzed down to 2-3 amino acid length peptides which would mean that large milk proteins that can cause sensitivities are all broken down.

Studies with infants with proven cow’s milk allergy have shown that extensively hydrolyzed whey does not cause allergic responses in about 95% of subjects. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11338291 Biotest BCAA structured peptides would fit the definition of extensively (or completely) hydrolyzed whey based on the label. Mag-10 would be defined as extensively (or completely) hydrolyzed casien based on the label. I have used both of these products and they do not cause the same sensitivity issues as milk. I have tried whey proteins that would be assumed to be partially hydrolyzed and was sensitive to them.

Oddly, cheese does not seem to cause any issues, or if so they are mild effects so I considered that it might be the lactose, but even whey with no lactose does cause it. Hard cheeses have the whey removed and are mostly casien so again, maybe I’m sensitive to large proteins in the whey. For that reason, you may want to try casien based protein like Metabolic Drive, especially if you are OK with hard cheese. Mag-10 is hydrolyzed casien and also highly hydrolyzed and BCAA structured peptides are hydrolyzed whey.

My advice is to try a pure casien source, unless you know that you are sensitive to hard cheese, in which case, casien may be a culprit, OR to try an extensively hydrolyzed product, which has additional advantages that it has an extremely high absorption rate due to being broken down to small peptides. Third might be to try an egg protein source or to simply do with whole foods. I think that hydrolyzed milk proteins are beneficial if tolerated (both hydrolyzed whey and casien have been proven to have benefits) but if you are turning to plant based proteins, then I would just go with more protein from food instead.

I identify with almost everything you have written here. I will send the whey back and buy the smallest bag of casein or hydrolised whey I can to try that.

Incidentally, you have mentioned the protein sizes but I have read online that it is not the proteins that cause the problem but the fact that dairy consumption causes the production of a hormone called Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF1) which causes inflammation in the skin and can cause acne etc.

  1. I would definitely test out casien first.
  2. Hydrolyzed whey is usually only partially hydrolyzed. Partially hydrolyzed whey affects me negatively. I would only recommend trying whey if you have a product that is “extensively hydrolyzed”. Most whey is only slightly hydrolyzed.
  3. Large milk proteins can cause allergic effects. The article I posted showed that babies with proven milk protein allergies were almost always fine when the proteins were highly hydrolyzed first. IGF-1 on the other hand can be stimulated by high amounts of amino acids whether they are in large proteins or not. As far as I know, leucine is the primary amino acid that can raise IGF-1, but that’s one of the main reasons why leucine helps you gain muscle, because IGF-1 builds muscle. I do not have any evidence indicating that IGF-1 causes your symptoms but if it does then it is a side effect of the same mechanism that causes muscle growth. You wouldn’t be able to have it both ways. I personally take in a lot of leucine now but don’t have the allegenic response unless I take in whole proteins, and to the best of my knowledge, whole whey proteins.

Thanks for the detailed response. Much appreciated. I will think on it and make a decision (unless other people come forward with other suggestions/opinions).