Protein Shakes & Seizures

Seizures are probably not the first side effect you think of when you consider drinking a protein shake. If you develop a seizure after drinking a protein shake you are most likely experiencing a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis. Most protein shakes are made from whey protein, which is one of the two proteins found in milk products. Some protein shakes use soy proteins, which can also lead to a severe allergic reaction. Soy and milk are two of the most common food allergies, according to the Food Allergy Initiative.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Allergic Reaction

Seizures that develop from drinking protein shakes is the result of an allergic reaction. If your immune system is hyper-sensitive allergic to one or more of the proteins in the beverage, you body will overreact to the protein shake and unleash a flood of chemicals into your blood stream. The chemical chain-reaction begins with the release of immunoglobulin E antibodies, which attack the proteins. IgE antibodies present in the blood trigger mast cells to create histamine and other allergy-fighting chemicals, which results in most allergy symptoms.


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Seizures occur when the brain experiences abnormal electrical activity in the brain, which causes abnormal activity in the body, according to MedlinePlus. Seizures are some times difficult to notice because some symptoms are mild. Common symptoms of having a seizure include extreme mood changes, such as fear, panic and joy, changes in alertness, vision changes, odd sensations in the skin, shaking of the enter body, a bitter or metallic taste in the mouth, hallucinations and muscle twitching in different places in the body.


If you’re severely allergic to one or more of the ingredients in a protein shake, you may develop anaphylaxis, which can lead to having seizures, according to New Medical Information and Health Information. Anaphylaxis causes the entire body to experience an allergic reaction, overwhelming the body and sending it into a state of shock. Anaphylaxis can lead to death within a matter of minutes and will require emergency medical attention. Most symptoms develop rapidly, within a few seconds or minutes after consuming the protein shake.


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The most effective treatment for seizures resulting from anaphylactic shock is an injection of epinephrine. Epinephrine is synthetic adrenalin that will cause your blood cells to constrict and your lungs to relax, reducing life-threatening symptoms. If diagnosed with an allergy to whey or soy protein, you will need to eliminate these proteins entirely from your diet.