Can I eat it with vitamin supplements and protein drinks?
400 billion won. It is the size of the protein supplement market expected by the end of 2022. In late 2018, the market for protein supplements, which usually used to be eaten by athletes, began to grow. The first was protein powder released for older people. The lack of protein in the elderly is the main cause of sarcopenia, and it is a representative health issue in an ultra-aged society. Although the disease code was granted in 2021 and recognized as a disease that requires professional management, strengthening protein in the diet is used as one of the treatments because there is no suitable treatment.
Protein powder, which is easy to eat for the elderly who have difficulty eating protein food due to digestion and weakening tooth function, has been popular since its launch. And as protein is an important nutrient for everyone, the protein supplement market has expanded beyond the elderly. In particular, vitamin supplements and protein supplements were used together to supplement nutrition for children who are picky and adults who eat less. However, in addition to protein, vitamins and minerals are often added to protein supplements, so when taken with general nutrients, it sometimes exceeds safe nutrient intake. Focusing on the representative cases recently received in online counseling, three things to be careful about when taking vitamin supplements and protein supplements together are summarized.
1. Check the vitamin and mineral content in the information (label) of protein supplements
Protein supplements often do not contain only protein. Therefore, when purchasing protein supplements, it is necessary to make sure that nothing other than protein has been added to the product information. Especially those who are already taking nutritional supplements need to be more careful.
For example, Company A’s daily intake of powdered protein supplements for adults includes 300 mg of calcium, 100 mg of magnesium, 8.5 mg of zinc, and 800 IU of vitamin D (20)). The daily intake of liquid products (1 pack) contains 500 mg of calcium, 700 μg of vitamin A, 200 μg of folic acid, and 800 IU of vitamin D (20 μg). As such, each protein supplement has a different composition or content of vitamins, and the content is usually low, so there is a high risk of excessive intake of certain nutrients when taken with other nutrients.
2. Be careful of the upper limit intake of zinc and magnesium when taking protein supplements for children
Protein supplements or nutritional supplements released for children are often fortified with vitamins and minerals. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies in children have a significant impact on growth and immunity, so they are added to maintain the health of children who eat less or are picky. Therefore, when you feed protein supplements containing vitamins and minerals together with general nutrients, you must make sure that the total amount of overlapping ingredients is safe. In particular, zinc is used too much in children’s nutritional supplements or snacks, and magnesium often overlooks the upper limit intake, so it is good to know the upper limit intake by age.
According to the 2020 Korean Nutrient Intake Standard, the upper limit of zinc intake for 1-2 years old is 6 mg, 9 mg for 3-5 years old, and 13 mg for 6-8 years old. The upper limit intake of zinc is set by combining zinc obtained from food and nutrients, and in the long run, it is safe to eat zinc nutrients below the upper limit intake. Magnesium has no known side effects when consumed in the form of natural foods such as walnuts, so the upper limit intake is applied only to non-food processed foods such as nutritional supplements. When looking at the upper limit intake of magnesium, it is 60 mg for 1-2 years old, 90 mg for 3-5 years old, and 130 mg for 6-8 years old. If magnesium is consumed more than the upper limit of intake, diarrhea or dilute stool can easily occur. Other information can be found by searching the “2020 Korean Nutrient Intake Standards.”
3. Adult protein supplements, be careful of excessive calcium intake
The upper calcium limit intake for adults over 50 years of age is 2,000 mg. This is a value set based on the risk of developing ‘milk-alkali syndrome’ when excessive milk is consumed with antacids. However, excess calcium consumed in the form of nutritional supplements increases the concentration of calcium in the blood faster than milk, and excess calcium is likely to be deposited throughout the body during the normalization process. Therefore, it is recommended to eat calcium as a nutritional supplement around the recommended intake unless it is for a specific purpose such as osteoporosis treatment.
To prevent osteoporosis, the Korean Society of Osteoporosis recommends taking 800 to 1,000 mg of calcium a day, and calcium supplements should be used only when it is difficult to take sufficient in a general meal. Usually, if you eat milk or cheese once or twice a day and eat a normal meal, you can get enough calcium from the recommended daily intake. For example, if milk, cheese, or calcium-enhanced soy milk or fermented milk are consumed twice a day, calcium nutritional supplements can have a negative effect on health.
As explained earlier in the example, protein supplements for adults often have calcium strengthened for bone health along with muscle strength. And calcium may be included in adult multivitamins or joint nutritional supplements. Therefore, if you are an adult who already takes more than one nutrient or usually eats dairy products more than once a day, it is better to choose a product with less or less calcium when taking protein supplements.