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  1. #1
    Registered User mhoward84's Avatar
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    Whey Protein Isolate and Sleep Problems/Bloody Noses

    First of all, not sure if I should put this under supplements or nutrition. But here we are.

    About 2 years ago I got a little more serious about weight lifting (I have been doing it since my mid-teens though) and took some friends' advice and started taking protein powder again.

    When I did, I started having horrible sleep problems where I would have no problems falling asleep at all but at about 3-5 AM would wake up completely wired and nothing would help me fall asleep.
    I would also suffer a nosebleed every single day. Sometimes it would hit me during the day and sometimes it would wake me up in the middle of the night (nosebleed is not always accompanying sleep problems though).

    I spent a lot of effort trying to figure out what was causing my sleep problems. It is hard to make any progress weight lifting when you can't sleep, and having a couple (adorable) little kids adding to the sleep problems made for poor workouts.
    I would try to link anything dietary and environmental to my sleep problems. At first I concluded that I just needed to reduce the intensity of my workouts, which I believe might have been partially true, as I was ramping up my effort pretty drastically. As far as dietary, I cycled through a list of possible things and during my hit-and-miss experimentation and I considered the problem possibly being MSG. I looked into MSG and found that all protein powder has, to varying degrees, some amount of MSG, and that hydrolyzed and isolates contain more. (Please note this is here simply to help explain my thought process and what led me to different conclusions, I am not trying to argue any point).

    Now at this point I decided to try egg protein powder as there were no hydrolyzed/isolate ingredients in the ones I could find (it was very difficult for (friggin A... my nose is bleeding) me to find a whey protein powder that has neither). Since I have been on the egg protein powder I have noticed a drastic positive change in my sleep quality and will even get those "feel like a million bucks" mornings when I actually get a good night sleep and the kids sleep well (I have also drastically reduced/virtually eliminated my MSG intake - although please note I am not saying this is the problem, just a possible coincidence). A few months into my egg protein powder I decided to test the whey protein I usually used (GNC something or other) and bam, later that night I had a nosebleed and my sleep was mediocre. So I went back to my egg protein. Up til yesterday it has been another couple months. I have seemingly forgotten about my sleep issues and in my infinite wisdom decided to buy some whey protein (a big ol 5lb one at that too...), as I wanted to cycle what type of protein powder I was using since I would really like to not develop an allergy to egg. After my first use yesterday it didn't dawn on me that I may have just wasted $45 until I got another nosebleed later in the night. Once I noticed this I also noticed the "uneasy" anxiety feeling in my gut that would accompany my poor sleep. And here I am at 4 AM posting this observation.

    This was a huge deal for me trying to figure out my sleep issues and I believe this might help others who may have a sensitivity to whey protein/isolate/hydrolyzed.

    P.S. anyone wanna buy a huge tub of whey protein? /sigh
    Last edited by mhoward84; 07-17-2012 at 04:30 AM.
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  2. #2
    Registered User ENSLAVER's Avatar
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    It's great you could narrow down the problem, for some people it takes years of food diaries and elimination. It took me a year to find out that whey was one of the causes of my lack of sleep due to sinus problems (bleeding/swelling/pain/blockage/etc).

    I've tried a few non-milk proteins. I would only recommend Silk rice protein and egg. Pea and non silk rice protein are some of the proteins I have tried that either taste like vomit (pea), or have a chalky texture that prevents swallowing (non silk rice). There are some other more expensive proteins like Goatein, beef protein, and hemp (make sure it's a powder for shakes, not hemp flour) that I haven't tried yet.

    I too have large tubs of whey protein to give away.. lol

    ps. Have you tried eliminating all dairy from your diet to see if you feel different?
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  3. #3
    Registered User mhoward84's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ENSLAVER View Post
    ps. Have you tried eliminating all dairy from your diet to see if you feel different?
    No I haven't actually. I eat a fair amount of dairy with greek yogurt/cottage cheese and also make all my shakes with milk. I used to use water before but the new egg stuff is just atrocious with water.
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    Originally Posted by mhoward84 View Post
    No I haven't actually. I eat a fair amount of dairy with greek yogurt/cottage cheese and also make all my shakes with milk. I used to use water before but the new egg stuff is just atrocious with water.

    Yeah it can be hard to get down. See if any companies will ship you a sample of silk rice protein, it tastes nice, specially with rice milk.
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  5. #5
    Registered User mhoward84's Avatar
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    Well I was just fine when I was eating the egg protein and all the milk products. Problem only appeared when I had the whey protein (isolate).
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    Registered User jevbrowser's Avatar
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    whey and sleep

    Originally Posted by mhoward84 View Post
    First of all, not sure if I should put this under supplements or nutrition. But here we are.

    About 2 years ago I got a little more serious about weight lifting (I have been doing it since my mid-teens though) and took some friends' advice and started taking protein powder again.

    When I did, I started having horrible sleep problems where I would have no problems falling asleep at all but at about 3-5 AM would wake up completely wired and nothing would help me fall asleep.
    I would also suffer a nosebleed every single day. Sometimes it would hit me during the day and sometimes it would wake me up in the middle of the night (nosebleed is not always accompanying sleep problems though).

    I spent a lot of effort trying to figure out what was causing my sleep problems. It is hard to make any progress weight lifting when you can't sleep, and having a couple (adorable) little kids adding to the sleep problems made for poor workouts.
    I would try to link anything dietary and environmental to my sleep problems. At first I concluded that I just needed to reduce the intensity of my workouts, which I believe might have been partially true, as I was ramping up my effort pretty drastically. As far as dietary, I cycled through a list of possible things and during my hit-and-miss experimentation and I considered the problem possibly being MSG. I looked into MSG and found that all protein powder has, to varying degrees, some amount of MSG, and that hydrolyzed and isolates contain more. (Please note this is here simply to help explain my thought process and what led me to different conclusions, I am not trying to argue any point).

    Now at this point I decided to try egg protein powder as there were no hydrolyzed/isolate ingredients in the ones I could find (it was very difficult for (friggin A... my nose is bleeding) me to find a whey protein powder that has neither). Since I have been on the egg protein powder I have noticed a drastic positive change in my sleep quality and will even get those "feel like a million bucks" mornings when I actually get a good night sleep and the kids sleep well (I have also drastically reduced/virtually eliminated my MSG intake - although please note I am not saying this is the problem, just a possible coincidence). A few months into my egg protein powder I decided to test the whey protein I usually used (GNC something or other) and bam, later that night I had a nosebleed and my sleep was mediocre. So I went back to my egg protein. Up til yesterday it has been another couple months. I have seemingly forgotten about my sleep issues and in my infinite wisdom decided to buy some whey protein (a big ol 5lb one at that too...), as I wanted to cycle what type of protein powder I was using since I would really like to not develop an allergy to egg. After my first use yesterday it didn't dawn on me that I may have just wasted $45 until I got another nosebleed later in the night. Once I noticed this I also noticed the "uneasy" anxiety feeling in my gut that would accompany my poor sleep. And here I am at 4 AM posting this observation.

    This was a huge deal for me trying to figure out my sleep issues and I believe this might help others who may have a sensitivity to whey protein/isolate/hydrolyzed.

    P.S. anyone wanna buy a huge tub of whey protein? /sigh

    howard..........i realize this post is old, but i am just now experiencing similar SLEEP and SINUS problems on my workout days when i take 30g of whey isolate before workouts and 30g of whey isolate after workouts. My results are......same exact pattern as you..........i fall asleep easily, but after 3-4 hours of sleep, i awake, wired. And have similar sinus problems. On my OFF days, i take CASEIN and i have no sleep problems on those days it seems. I am going to try changing my AFTER workout from WHEY to CASEIN. I know it's against common wisdom, but i can't afford this kind of sleep deprivation. It's very unsettling.

    Funny how doing your own hit-n-miss, self-experiments, can drive you batty for a period. I haven't tested this whey/casein swap yet, but after reading your post (and others) i am going to start my new program today. I feel confident.

    Thanks for your great post.
    jev
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  7. #7
    Registered User CAROLINESPINE's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jevbrowser View Post
    howard..........i realize this post is old, but i am just now experiencing similar SLEEP and SINUS problems on my workout days when i take 30g of whey isolate before workouts and 30g of whey isolate after workouts. My results are......same exact pattern as you..........i fall asleep easily, but after 3-4 hours of sleep, i awake, wired. And have similar sinus problems. On my OFF days, i take CASEIN and i have no sleep problems on those days it seems. I am going to try changing my AFTER workout from WHEY to CASEIN. I know it's against common wisdom, but i can't afford this kind of sleep deprivation. It's very unsettling.

    Funny how doing your own hit-n-miss, self-experiments, can drive you batty for a period. I haven't tested this whey/casein swap yet, but after reading your post (and others) i am going to start my new program today. I feel confident.

    Thanks for your great post.
    jev

    I think Im having the same problem. After years of the same issue, I noticed the sleep problems were worse on my workout days. I take IsoPure from GNC. I knew overexertion cant be a reason for lack of sleep, so I attribute it to the Isolate. When I stop taking it, my sleep gets better, much better. If I take it before bed, which I normally dont, sleep is horrible. It stands to reason that ISOLATE protein in my situation is the problem. I may go back to egg and whole foods only.

    Im pretty sure that ISO spikes your blood sugar and if your having these problems, you may have insulin sensitivity issues.
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  8. #8
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    This is such an old thread. But my mind is blown that a whey protein powder contains MSG.
    Just sayin.
    Currently making gains on Wendler 5/3/1.

    "A calorie is not a calorie, but that does not mean that quality is more important than quantity". - Layne Norton PhD
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