It is always good to scoop some protein powder into your post-workout smoothie in order to quickly build up muscle mass, yet it turns out that for some it may cause more problems than benefits.
Namely, there exists a certain group of people that have reported constipation when frequently consuming vegan protein powder.
Is that so? Does vegan protein powder in particular bring about constipation episodes? In this article, you are about to find it out.
Why Do High Protein Diets Cause Constipation?
What people invested in a high protein diet often forget about, yet in most cases is actually responsible for most of their complaints, is the necessity to complement the body’s other nutritional needs besides its protein demands.
In reality, those who start suffering from constipation having switched to high amounts of protein powder, including the vegan one, have such symptoms because they skip out on other macromolecules, especially fiber to be more specific.
A low-fiber (and simultaneously high-protein) diet is one of the most significant factors known to contribute to chronic constipation.
Because of its hardly digestible for humans cell wall structure, it stimulates the peristalsis of the intestines.
In other words, their constriction and relaxation movements designed to push the food forward down the alimentary tract.
At the same time, it is notably beneficial to the gastrointestinal bacterial microflora, disruption of which may also promote unwanted and uncontrolled changes in bowel movements.
If the latter is not sufficiently provoked, the food mush remains unmoved in one fragment of the intestines, causing constipation.
Because the intestines are innervated in the way they are (or medically speaking, with the parasympathetic nerve fibers), we cannot incite the peristaltic movements ourselves, but rather have to rely on the gut’s own involuntary rythm.
Simultaneously, what might especially worsen the problem among vegan protein powder consumers, is the fact that the same people often assume that the plant-derived vegan protein powder also contains lots of indigestible carbohydrates like fiber.
In truth, yes, vegan protein powder does contain protein extracted from peas, hemp, rice, soy, or other sources, yet as stated previously, it is mostly extracted protein, while the majority of other plant components had been left out.
How To Avoid Constipation While Taking Protein Powder?
Consume More Fiber
It is as simple as that. When building up mass it is key to remember not to neglect the other nutrient groups.
At the same time do not forget that you do not need to supplement fiber in any way in order to consume it in sufficient amounts – plainly follow a balanced diet with fiber-rich foods.
The latter are for example whole grain products, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
Nonetheless, if you feel that you still need an additional source of fiber intake, supply yourself with supplementary fiber or a vegan protein powder enriched with this sugar.
Drink Plenty Of Water
One of the most useful medical guidelines for preventing constipation includes drinking a sufficient amount of water.
You can calculate the exact amount you need online, based on your body mass. Multiple studies have shown a strong correlation between proper hydration and significantly less frequent episodes of constipation.
There Is No Need To Switch To A Non-Vegan Powder
For those who eat vegan protein powder by choice and are not all the way vegan, switching to a non-vegan powder will not itself solve the issue.
Both kinds of powder are, in fact, extracted protein, just from various sources, hence the only thing to modify here is the rest of your diet.
At the same time, for similar reasons, vegan protein powder is as effective as non-vegan protein powder when it comes to promoting healthy body composition, muscle thickness, and one’s strength, so there is really no downside to it.
What Are The Other Protein Related Gut And Poop Problems Than Constipation, How To Avoid Them?
As mentioned earlier, what mostly causes one’s gut and poop problems is the lack of balance in one’s diet and not per se eating one ingredient in astonishingly high amounts over and over again.
The latter can only be harmful if it contributes to the former, which can lead to changes in the gut’s bacterial microbiota and thus, for instance, chronic inflammation and the development of inflammatory diseases.
For this reason, when following a wholesome diet, frequently consuming protein powder will do you no harm.
What additionally enforces this effect is the fact that the body easily gets rid of excess protein – if it had used all of the needed protein for various purposes, the surplus is effortlessly excreted via the urine and is not accumulated in the organism.
The only noteworthy exception here, when it comes to protein-related gut problems, would be such a case when someone is allergic to one particular protein, like in the patients suffering from cow’s milk allergy.
In such a scenario, the consumption of the cow’s milk protein draws water and ions into the intestines what results in watery diarrhea and other symptoms.
Fiber And Different Other Goodies In Your Vegan Protein Powder
Because of the above-stated reasons, choosing a fiber-enriched vegan protein powder seems like a reasonable idea.
Concurrently, many wonder about two sorts of fiber, namely the soluble and insoluble types.
The good news, every food as well as every supplement should contain some of both.
At the same time, both are extremely beneficial for your gut – soluble fiber lowers the blood levels of cholesterol and glucose, while the insoluble one, as mentioned, promotes bowel movements, hence prevents constipation.
You can easily come across miscellaneous antioxidants like matcha or fruit extracts in vegan protein powders.
Naturally, antioxidants play a crucial role in maintaining one’s overall well-being and averting inflammation in the body, hence some added to your powder certainly will do no harm.
It is important though not to get too excited about it and establish other sources of antioxidants in your diet like actual fruits and vegetables.
Moreover, since protein powders are no medicine, their production is not as strictly regulated as the latter, hence, it is always important to check the product’s safety.
Similar to antioxidants and other typically health-giving substances in vegan protein powders, it is imperative to check the brand’s standard and safety before relying on them when it comes to vitamins.
Simultaneously, if everything seems alright, it is crucial not to overconsume particular vitamins if eating other supplements at the same time – that can lead to potentially dangerous consequences.
How To Pick A Highly Digestible Vegan Protein Powder?
In regards to the main reason that you are probably consuming vegan protein powder for, the protein, you do not have to worry about their digestibility at all (vegan protein powders do not contain cow’s milk protein, hence it is not your problem too).
The human organism contains all the needed enzymes necessary for breaking down protein into smaller, absorbable amino acids so that you will get the most out of your vegan protein powder without digestive problems.
How To Ease Constipation And What Are The Medical Treatments?
Probiotics, or live microorganisms that confer health benefits to the host when ingested in adequate amounts, are imperative to maintaining the gut’s health, including one’s bowel movements and a constipation-free life.
Daily consumption of probiotics containing, among other species, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, will greatly improve the wellbeing of your gut with no concurrent side effects.
Fiber supplementation is some of the most accessible over-the-counter ways to ease constipation since it most often does not entail any serious detrimental repercussions.
Accordingly, if you are suffering from a mild episode of constipation, simply eating fiber might help.
When the home remedies do not seem to do the job, you rather seek professional help.
Doctors opt for a pharmaceutical treatments when it comes to chronic constipation, or in serious cases.
There exist certain medicine groups that are used for this ailment:
- Osmotic laxatives: they draw water into the intestinal lumen, hence propel the food mush in the gut forward – a similar effect to what the cow’s milk protein does to a person allergic to it
- Stimulant laxatives like bisacodyl
- Prokinetic agents that actively stimulate one’s peristalsis.