Unflavored protein powder and NAFld - Living with Fatty...

Living with Fatty Liver and NASH

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Unflavored protein powder and NAFld

Darkdog profile image

Hey guys,

I thought of creating a new post and understand the science from the gurus on this site. Since I have been diagnosed with NAFLD aviation ultrasound, I ended up deciding loosing weight and. Loosing weight means 20min cardio every day, strength training for 40 min. Basically working out 5 days days a week.

Since I was leaning out, my trainer asked me to drink protein shakes also. Now with my Nafld, I did a lot of reading and everyone had different views of protein powder. I was reading one book ‘skinny liver’ Keto Diet where they recommend of using protein powders.

Well I’ve been drinking one or 2 scoops every days for the past month and wanted to get some insight on some science for fatty liver and protein powder. Really appreciate if someone can educate me p

20 Replies
nash2 profile image

As in all things liver, balance is important. Protein is critical for life and if you are working out hard you need some extra protein for repair, but it is easy to over do it. Too much protein makes the liver work harder which is not what you want. The only suggestion I have heard from a hepatologist is 4gm per day of BCAA. I would bet that a strength trainer would say a lot more than that. In your case I'd probably add some or eat an extra serving of beans perhaps but I wouldn't go heavy on extra protein.

Don't know if that helps and you should ask your doc as we are not the experts.


Darkdog profile image
Darkdog in reply to nash2

Thanks Wayne. I just don’t understand that there are not a lot of research done on protein powders with fatty liver. I saw one research article where why rotein did made a difference in reducing the fat from the liver. However, it might be a paid research also with fake ;)


I guess my doctors are not a fan of supplements so hence they say not to use supplements way before fatty liver. Proteins are important part of consumption as you stated but obviously too much protein is not good.

I believe 25g of protein apart from regular food consumption should not hurt but then again I want to check in with you. I am 172 and previously my protein consumption overall in a day was 121g. This includes one shake in the morning 25g and one in evening. With me being 172Lb, would you still recommend talk with the nutritionist ?

nash2 profile image
nash2Administrator in reply to Darkdog

Since I'm not a doc my advice isn't worth much. The main thing, and it is different for everyone, is don't overload the liver. More is not necessarily better but it does depend on how hard you are working and how much muscle mass you are needing to repair each day. You might start low and see how quickly the soreness resolves as that might be one measure. If that time doesn't change adding more protein probably isn't doing anything for you.

NYLassie profile image
NYLassie in reply to Darkdog

I suspect that the reason protein powder is not recommended is because protein sources are readily available through diet and because there are no standards in regard to quality of the protein in the powders, and production and storage.

My internist is of the opinion that less protein in the diet is better and that too much strains the liver. My hepatologist has not expressed an opinion.

If there is a well educated, competent registered dietitian you could see, I would jump at that.

RDs are the experts on nutrition. A good many doctors have only the vaguest ideas about nutrition and much of what they believe might not be up to date.

If were a matter of oh, weight loss or muscle gain and general health goals for someone with a healthy liver and normal blood lipids, I might take the advice of a personal trainer or go with my own research or try something recommended by a diet doctor's article in a magazine ... but with serious health issues, personally I err on the side of caution and avoid health guru advice and go with medical professionals.

Darkdog profile image
Darkdog in reply to NYLassie

So here is what I did today. I mixed water with some almonds and walnuts and couple of spoons of non fat free Greek yogurt and blend it and made my own shake with proteins and carbs mixed. This way it’s pure and no preservatives.

I hope I didn’t do any damage by drinking 2 scoops of unflavored protein shake every day. BTW I did gain muscle mass but I hope I didn’t damage anything else for in taking the protein powder for 2 months

Bbohnie profile image
Bbohnie in reply to Darkdog

Another concern with liver issues is how much iron is in the protein powder. My hepatalogist said to not use anything with added iron or any of its other names like ferrous sulfate. ingesting iron from natural sources such as meat or vegetables is ok just limit it. Added iron is harmful because the iron collects in the liver, hardening it and does not go away. I have too much iron in my blood due to NASH. Eating any Vit C (tomatoes,citrus, added VitC in the powder) increases the uptake of iron. As others said too much protein is hard for liver to process. Consider maybe spreading your intake out. When using nuts be mindful of the quantity as to how much and what type fat you are getting. It is easy to add too many calories and fat if you aren't careful especially combining nuts with yogurt. You could use a defatted nut powder like PB2. it does have a little sugar but I found a generic brand with less. it adds protein with less s fat and calories as well! After reading A LOT of labels, I use Raw Fit weight loss version because the iron is lower, Vit C is lower and overall the nutrition is good. However- I only use 1 to 2 times per week. Eating nutrition is better than drinking it in terms of satiation and enjoyment for me. It seems like you are doing a great deal of exercise. What is your diet like? it has been said " You can't out exercise your diet." In other words, weight loss comes from food choices and quantity/quality changes not burning calories. I realize this is about muscle/mass growth but you mentioned the exercise was needed for weight loss. Perhaps you lost all you needed to and now are building...I am just not sure from your information. Eggs are another great source of protein-use organic Eggs which have less toxins and pesticides and better nutrition I prefer Eggland. I found a Dietitian was extremely helpful and my insurance paid for it because my weight was a health issue which affected my heart, my liver and potential other disease states. I found things that work for me.

My Hepatologist told me to increase my protein and to add HMB. See Study and many others on ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl....

I started working out and changed my lifestyle, eating. I was losing weight but not at a rate consistent with the amount of aerobic, strength training, and diet. In addition, I wasn't adding any muscle mass hence the recommendation to increase protein and add the HMB. The recommendation for increasing the protein was due to a diet high in vegetables.

As mentioned, there are many studies on HMB and its effect on weight loss, increased muscle mass, endurance, and hepatic benefits too. I hope this helps.

Hi, thanks such a detailed explanation. Quick question here - how do u measure or know that muscle mass is increasing/decreasing? Are there are weighing machines which tells this.? I have always wondered when I loose eight that am I losing weight or loosing muscle?


Darkdog profile image
Darkdog in reply to amerie0259

Thank you. That is the only study I can find online. Sometime I wonder if it was a paid advertising

Conflicting information is confusing and I’ve had the same concerns. When I was diagnosed in May 2018 with NASH stage 3 fibrosis my hepatologist suggested I attend the 1st National NASH Day event that was occurring that month. Multiple speakers (Hepatologist included) mentioned the benefits of whey protein powder for NASH. I had also read an article stating that some studies have shown whey protein to have benefit in NASH. One of the speakers that day also said that collagen protein is good.

They weren’t encouraging overloading on protein powder but they did seem to think it’s beneficial within reason. My hepatologist knows that I often drink a protein shake with either collagen protein or whey protein powder, unsweetened almond milk or coconut water, 1/2 to a whole banana, flax seed & some wild blueberries for breakfast. I’ve been slowly losing some weight and have dropped my liver enzymes and my A1c blood sugar both into normal range now. I’m not going heavy duty on protein powder but I do use it (a sugar free version). I guess some of these decisions we just have to read the information, listen to our doctors and decide what works for us.

Good luck!

Darkdog profile image
Darkdog in reply to Cats2018

Thank you so much cars for Sharing your story. I think if we drink one protein shake per day, it should not hurt but everyone body reacts different. So far I have heard good stories of using whey protein powder u sweetens with fatty liver. However, there are people who will state that a liver which is not functioning properly should not be bombarded with other chemicals involved in whey powder.

Cats2018 profile image
Cats2018 in reply to Darkdog

That’s true. I do buy protein powders with the least amount of additions and I buy grass fed too. I keep the ingredients as minimal as possible. 😊

Ajo13 profile image
Ajo13 in reply to Cats2018

What whey protein powder do you use?

Cats2018 profile image
Cats2018 in reply to Ajo13


I’ve tried some different ones, but lately I’ve been using one I get at Sprouts Farmers Market here. It’s Biochem 100% Whey Isolate Protein. It’s sugar free, Grass-Fed Vegetarian, Gluten Free, no artificial flavors, zero sugar. 20G. It’s 90 calories per serving. I usually mix with unsweetened almond milk. I like vanilla so I can add fruit, but it comes in chocolate too.

Cats2018 profile image
Cats2018 in reply to Ajo13

PS - I meant to say 20G protein per serving in the previous reply to you

Hi. I am diabetic. I went through a period when I knew I was not getting enough protein. I started buying whatever protein powder was on sale. One I bought contained "protein isolate". I did some research and found this isolate was not for me. Still use a whey powder occasionally. But I take long breaks. I think Wayne gave some very good advice to your question. Make sure to advise your doctor of what you are doing and get his/her opinion. Good luck.

Cats2018 profile image
Cats2018 in reply to BrnThrasher

I agree! My Hepatologist knows what I’m using and how I’m eating. I also agree that you have to find what works for you and I’ve used the whey protein that isn’t isolate at times too. I was also told at the National Nash Day event that collagen protein is good. I sometimes use that instead but I’ve seen more positive research about using whey protein if you don’t have a problem with whey. I tried vegetarian pea protein too, but I don’t care for the flavor.

PS Darkdog I took the time to read all of your posts and I see you might have changed your "program". Sorry I just read your first question earlier.

Darkdog profile image
Darkdog in reply to BrnThrasher

No worries man. So far I’ve been taking one post workout 25g unflavored whey protein powder every day.

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