Does Whey Protein Powder Cause Gout?

Posted January 28, 2010 in Medical, Your Questions 13 Comments »
Your Questions
Your Questions

I get plenty of questions in various comments throughout the website, but I also get comments and questions via the Project Swole Contact Form.

Generally I address those questions through e-mail, but often I do not have the time to reply to each and every question personally.

From now on I want to take a more proactive approach to answering Your Health Questions by posting them separately in the blog. This way we can be sure that everyone benefits from the Q & A.

Jim R wrote:

“I am 61 and in generally good shape, bicycled for years (at least 1000 miles per year).

The past two years I’ve converted to weight training (three days a week) plus spinning (three days a week). I’ve always been thin 6’2 – 195lbs.

Joined a gym 2 months ago (with a personal trainer)and really haven’t seen the results I’ve been looking for. I’ve reduced my body fat but haven’t seen any gains in muscle mass. I feel better but would also like to look better.

Also I just had another issue arise – a minor case of gout. I have been using a Whey protein drink 40 grams a day and need to know if Whey based supplements contain large amounts Purine (the largest contributer to gout).

I’m looking for info for us ‘old guys’ that haven’t given up.”


Well Jim, you have come to the right place. To help you ‘look better’, I suggest you check out one of the Project Swole workout routines for gaining muscle.

I would like to suggest any of the following routines:

Your personal trainer is probably a putz and won’t be able to give you a really great workout routine for one reason or another. Forget going that route.

Whey Protein Powder Does Not Cause Gout

Simple stated: whey protein doesn’t cause gout. Do not worry, consuming protein powder is not the reason you developed gout. Let me shed some more light on the subject.

Need protein powder?


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  • Reduces risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke
  • Probiotics to assist digestion and nutrient absorption
  • Tastes awesome mixed with plain cold water!!

Click here to order or learn more about Shakeology.

If you are looking for a pure protein powder, check out Optimum Nutrition. Optimum Nutrition protein powder comes in about 20 different flavors, and is available in 1 lb, 2 lb, 5 lb, and 10 lb containers.

Click here to order or learn more about Optimum Nutrition.

What is Gout?

Toe Gout
Toe Gout

The symptoms of gout – most often initially experienced on the big toe – are redness around a joint, accompanied by inflammation, stiffness, and intense pain. Other areas commonly affected are wrists, fingers, elbows, and ankles. Sometimes gout can be so severe that the touch of fabric such as bed sheets and clothes is virtually unbearable.

Gout is the concentration of uric acid crystals in the joints of cooler parts of your body, such as the hands or feet. Uric acid can also build up under the skin – a condition called tophi – or secreted as kidney stones. Ouch!

Uric acid is a waste product of the oxidation of purines (imidazo[4,5-d]pyrimidine), which are present in uric acid, caffeine, the nucleic acids Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) and Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), as well as GTP, ATP, NADH, cyclic AMP, and co-enzyme A. You will have to do your own research to find out more about most of those compounds, but I will tell you that DNA and RNA are your main sources of dietary purines.

Nucleic acids reside in the nuclei of cells, which are prevalent in the animal and vegetable foods that we eat. They encode genetic information as long chains of the four bases guanine, adenine, thymine, and cytosine. The oxidation of guanine and adenine is what produces uric acid.

What Causes Gout?

Alcohol and foods high in purines such as seafood, legumes, red meat, and organ meat (like that used in hot dogs, sausages, and other ground meat) are most often linked to gout. In a 12 year study of 47,000 adult men, those who ate the most red meat or seafood increased their risk of gout by as much as 50%.

Uric Acid Crystals
Uric Acid Crystals in the Big Toe

Purine Free Foods

To find purine free food, you must look for food that does not have cell nuclei.

Some examples of purine-free foods include:

  • milk
  • cottage cheese
  • mozzarella
  • whey protein
  • egg whites
  • pulp-free fruit juices

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that a higher consumption of non-fermented dairy products has been associated with a decreased risk of gout. Furthermore, a low-to-moderate intake of vegetable and animal proteins (foods that have purines) is not associated with an increased risk of gout.

Interestingly, fermented milk products such as yogurt and aged cheese do contain purines because bacterial cells develop during the fermentation process.

A diet designed to prevent gout should derive its protein content from egg whites (instead of whole eggs) and milk products, and should eliminate or substantially reduce consumption of meats and seafood. Many purine-free foods can be used in a wide variety of delicious recipes to create a menu low in purines. Protein shakes, fruit smoothies, custards, and salads are just some examples of ultra-low-purine meals.

Dieting, Obesity, and Gout

To help treat gout you must avoid excessive exercise, strict diets, and diets high in animal or fish protein. Atkins should be strictly forbidden for anyone with a history of gout. These types of activities and dietary strategies facilitates the breakdown of bodily tissues, which increases the development of uric acid.

Extremely obese patients typically have higher levels of uric acid to begin with, so those who are attempting to lose weight should be monitored for ketone presence in the urine (ketosis), a sure sign of increased uric acid. However, studies have shown that a decrease in body weight while following a low calorie 40/30/30 (C/P/F) Zone-style diet can decrease the levels of serum uric acid. Therefore it is clearly more beneficial for obese patients to lose weight first before worrying too much about their uric acid profile.

Also, water is extremely important for flushing uric acid and ketones out of the system.

In Conclusion

I declare that there are few, if any, gout-related side effects that can result from supplementing with whey protein. In fact I have said in my post about the side effects of whey protein, that supplementing with protein powder has little to no side-effects at all. Take this knowledge and feel good about picking up some Optimum Nutrition Protein Powder today.


Purine-rich foods, dairy and protein intake, and the risk of gout in men. New England Journal of Medicine.

Hyperuricemia and gout. Classification, complications and management. New England Journal of Medicine.

Models for the formation of uric acid and urate stones. Int Urol Nephrol.

Recent Developments in Diet and Gout: The Impact of Dietary Interventions on Hyperuricemia and Gout

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13 Responses to “Does Whey Protein Powder Cause Gout?”

  1. I work night shift at a rubber factory. hard work. good pay but I don't have time to eat due to the time I have on breaks. so I pack my lunch with fruit cups, juice and most of all protein bars out the you know what. I take supps such as dhea, multi vit. reversatrol, cla, fish oil, b6, and joint care. could any of this be harmful? I eat regular on my days off and I run on my days off following with a scoop of whey before and a scoop of casein and two raw eggs with soy milk for after.

  2. .
    Worried he is not getting enough vitamins.
    Please help with the advise.
    Asking if anyone knows if I can feed my blue healer dog wey powder in his diet , he is a diabetic dog and has injections 2 daily, and on cooked food only, of rice , potatoes , pumpkin , carrots and green beans.

  3. Having a gout could be really be painful. I may not be a gout sufferer, but reading your article, It’s almost like I can feel the pain as those who have gout.

  4. I have been suffering from gout for 20 years now. It started when I was 15 and am now 35. I’ve had it everywhere from my toes, middle of my foot (yes, there’s a joint there), ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, and fingers. I’ve tried everything from cherry juice, Allopurinol, Colchicine, Uloric, and Prednisone (I refuse to take this now, it’s an awful, awful, drug). I went from 155 to 240 pounds while taking this drug and it just made me fat and miserable and on top of that made my gout worse due to the weight gain.

    I have found water is really the key to controlling the gout. I started drinking about a gallon and a half of water a day and haven’t had a flair up in 3 months which is a long time in my case. I’ve also started exercising and eating lots of fruits and vegetables. I eat one chicken breast a day to get my protein and also use the whey protein powder in my smoothies in the morning. But I think the key is really the water; just don’t drink too much or it can be harmful to you, although I’m not sure how much is too much.

    Hope this helps anyone with this awful disease.

  5. Sorry, You are mistaken Dairy products can set off Gout.
    I have been dealing with gout for years.
    If I eat cottage cheese or any other dairy product that concentrated in whey. My gout will set off in 4-5 hours.

    Go easy on dairy if you have gout

  6. Gout arthritis without a doubt is an unpleasant sickness, my own nephew has been suffering from the illness for several years already. It is terrible, seeing a loved family member and friend experience gout attacks so frequently. Following a recommended eating plan with the goal of prevention and making use of proper medications and treatments is something I believe to be a necessity. I would encourage any one who is now noticing early indications of arthritis to by all means be concerned. Better speak with a physician better sooner than later and adapt your diet regime to prevent the outbreak of the disease. It is definitely no fun! Try to look for sensible treatment possibilites and steer clear of meals containing too much purine, asparagus and so forth for prevention!

  7. Gout arthritis undoubtedly is a horrid illness, my own grand daddy is having difficulties with it for quite a few years now. It puts a lot of stress on me, seeing a much loved relative suffer from intense joint pain on a regular basis. Sticking with an appropriate diet for prevention and making use of the most effective treatment methods is in my opinion imperative. I highly recommend anyone who is presently noticing primary clues of gout arthritis to by any means be concerned. Better speak with a health care professional as soon as possible and adjust your nutrition to prevent the outbreak of the illness. It is definitely no fun, thats for sure! Search good treatment possibilites and stay away from purine rich meals, asparagus and so forth as a prophylactic measure!

  8. Gout arthritis unquestionably is an awful health problem, my own nephew has been having difficulties with the disease for ages already. It is quite nerve-racking to me, watching an important family member suffer from a sudden gout attack often. Adhering to a suited diet plan for prevention and making use of proper medications and treatments is essential. I would recommend anybody who is already noticing the first indications of hyperuricemia to by all means be concerned. Better speak with a medical professional as soon as possible and correct your eating plan to prevent the outbreak of the condition. It is anything but fun, really. Search effective therapies and steer clear of meals with a lot of purine, alcohol etc for prophylaxis.

  9. Thank You for this great article! It has helped me but I have some issues of my own:

    Here is my short story:

    I’ve had gout for 3 years from age 20. I have learned to control the gout about 80-90% through natural whole foods diet and restricting those bad gout foods. In the past week I started a low carb high protein diet for 4-5 days a week and have noticed discomfort in left toe gout area on a consistent basis. Of course, I increased my water intake to try and balance it all out and I am doing a decent job on it. I avoided high purine foods to get my protein sources for the most part, eating cheeses, soy protein powder and whey protein powder, egg whites. I also eat 1/3 of a chicken breast grilled about 3 days this week but I know portions of chicken breast like that does not trigger gout like this so I’m very curious what it is coming from. If this article is correct, and I do believe the author did his necessary research then the soy protein along with the aged cheeses I’ve been eating (low fat swiss, the other is low fat string mozarella cheese) plus the soy protein powder and chicken breast built up the bad purines that I do not want?

    I want to continue my diet at least for 6 weeks so I can see results but I don’t know how long I can keep this up before my gout tells me to stop, and believe me…gout always wins the battle.

    A little about myself
    weight: 162
    height: 6gt
    body fat: 15%
    amount of protein consumed daily: 120-160, I should be getting 138+

    I guess from now I can just stick to whey protein, is whey isolate ok?

  10. Kudos on a great article Steve. Speaking from personal experience, eating clean and exercising and losing that ungainly tire helped my uric acid numbers go down. i did avoid read meat (and simple carbs). and Whey really helps!!

  11. Interesting article. Some of that would have been very helpful to know a few years back when my mother had extremely bad gout. Great article as usual.

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