Pea Protein

Pea Protein


Pea protein is extracted from green and yellow peas (Pisum sativum, best known as split peas) and is used in some protein supplements and protein-enriched foods. Vegetarians and vegans may prefer supplements with pea protein to supplements with protein derived from dairy (such as casein and whey proteins), eggs, or meat. Pea protein is lactose-free and is safe for people with allergies or sensitivities to dairy and eggs. Peas are in the legume family, and people with allergies to other legumes like peanuts and soybeans should be cautious when introducing pea protein into their diet because of the possibility of a pea allergy.1 Peas are an important protein source for people in parts of Asia; however, like all legumes, peas are low in the essential amino acid, methionine.2, 3 Rice, another staple of Asian diets, is high in methionine, and rice protein is sometimes added to pea protein supplements to complete the amino acid profile.4, 5
What Are Star Ratings?

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
2 Stars
Refer to label instructions
Pea protein may help reduce blood pressure.
Pea protein is high in arginine, an amino acid that keeps blood vessels healthy and can reduce high blood pressure. In addition, there is evidence that enzymes produced in the purification of pea protein could help lower blood pressure. A combination protein isolate supplement made from pea, soy, egg, and milk was found to lower high blood pressure more than the placebo in people with high blood pressure taking 20 grams three times per day for four weeks. In a three-week preliminary trial, hydrolyzed pea protein alone reduced blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
1 Star
Athletic Performance
Refer to label instructions
Pea protein may help build muscle and help athletes recover after exercise.
Pea protein is a good source of branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine), which are needed for muscle building and repair. Researchers have found that the amino acids in hydrolyzed protein supplements are highly available for muscle repair after muscle fiber damaging exercise and other causes of muscle injury. Some, but not all, studies show that protein supplements may help athletes by reducing soreness and speeding recovery after exercise, and increasing muscle mass gains. Whether pea protein has advantages over other protein supplements for athletes has not yet been determined.
1 Star
Cardiovascular Disease
Refer to label instructions
Pea protein might help prevent cardiovascular disease by lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
A pea protein supplement lowered cholesterol and triglyceride levels more than casein protein in rats. Whether pea protein has the same effect in humans is not yet known.
1 Star
Refer to label instructions
Pea protein can be part of a high-protein diet. High-protein diets have been shown to help prevent and treat obesity.6, 7
Pea protein is rich in branched-chain amino acids that have specifically been found to aid in weight loss and improve body composition. Pea protein may also affect weight loss by reducing appetite. Compared to whey protein and milk protein, 15 grams of pea protein was found to be better at inducing satiety (a sense of fullness) in overweight people. In a study looking at protein supplements and food consumption in healthy weight men, 20 grams of pea protein was as effective as casein protein and better than whey and egg protein at increasing fullness and reducing calorie intake when taken 30 minutes before a meal. None of the protein supplements reduced appetite or calorie intake when taken immediately before a meal.

How It Works

How to Use It

The ideal intake of pea protein has not been determined, but a typical serving of pea protein powder is 30 grams and provides about 25 grams of protein.

Where to Find It

Cooked split peas contain about 8% protein, or 7 to 8 grams per ½ cup. Pea protein extracts are used in some protein powders, meal replacement powders, and high-protein bars. As with other protein supplements, there are three types of pea protein extracts: concentrates (about 60-70% protein), isolates (about 70-95% protein), and hydrolysates (about 90-95% protein).

Possible Deficiencies

While protein deficiency is a problem in many parts of the world, it is uncommon in the developed world, since protein-rich foods like meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and legumes are generally abundantly available. There is no such thing as pea protein deficiency.


Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

Pea protein extracts have varying amounts of phytic acid, a plant chemical found especially in legumes that interferes with the absorption of minerals including iron. One study found that babies given a pea-based formula absorbed iron better when the formula was fortified with vitamin C.8 Processing techniques like dialysis, ultrafiltration, hydrolysis, and enzymatic treatment can reduce the amount of phytic acid remaining in protein extracts from legumes.9, 10, 11

Interactions with Medicines

As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers' package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Side Effects

People with peanut, soybean, or other legume allergies should be careful when adding pea protein to the diet. Even though peas are not a major cause of allergies, pea allergies are more common in people who have other legume allergies.12

Carbohydrate molecules called oligosaccharides may be present in varying amounts in pea protein extracts. These molecules can cause intestinal discomfort and gas in some people. A processing technique called ultrafiltration reduces the amount of oligosaccharides remaining in pea protein and reduces this side effect.13


1. Bernhisel-Bradbent J, Taylor S, Sampson H. Cross-allergenicity in the legume botanical family in children with food hypersensitivity. II. Laboratory correlates. J Allergy Clin Immunol1989;84:701-9.

2. Hasan M, Mannan A, Alam R, et al. A Computational analysis on Lectin and Histone H1 protein of different pulse species as well as comparative study with rice for balanced diet. Bioinformation 2012;8:196-200. doi: 10.6026/97320630008196. Epub 2012 Feb 28.

3. Tomoskozi S, Lasztity R, Haraszi R, et al. Isolation and study of the functional properties of pea proteins. Nahrung 2001;45, 399–401.

4. Murata K, Nishikaze M, Tanaka M. Nutritional quality of rice protein compared with whole egg protein. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 1977;23:125-31.

5. Hasan M, Mannan A, Alam R, et al. A Computational analysis on Lectin and Histone H1 protein of different pulse species as well as comparative study with rice for balanced diet. Bioinformation 2012;8:196-200. doi: 10.6026/97320630008196. Epub 2012 Feb 28.

6. Johansson K, Neovius M, Hemmingsson E. Effects of anti-obesity drugs, diet, and exercise on weight-loss maintenance after a very-low-calorie diet or low-calorie diet: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr2014;99:14-23. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.070052. Epub 2013 Oct 30. [review]

7. Gilbert J, Bendsen N, Tremblay A, Astrup A. Effect of proteins from different sources on body composition. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 2011;21 Suppl 2:B16-31. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2010.12.008. Epub 2011 May 11.

8. Davidsson L, Dimitriou T, Walczyk T, Hurrell R. Iron absorption from experimental infant formulas based on pea (Pisum sativum)-protein isolate: the effect of phytic acid and ascorbic acid. Br J Nutr2001;85(1):59-63.

9. Zhang M, Huang G, Jiang J. Iron binding capacity of dephytinised soy protein isolate hydrolysate as influenced by the degree of hydrolysis and enzyme type. J Food Sci Technol2014;51:994-9. doi: 10.1007/s13197-011-0586-7. Epub 2011 Nov 15.

10. Perez-Llamas F, Larque E, Marin J, Zamora S. In vitro availability of minerals in infant foods with different protein source. Nutr Hosp 2001;16:157-61. [in Spanish]

11. Skorepova J, Moresoli C. Carbohydrate and mineral removal during the production of low-phytate soy protein isolate by combined electroacidification and high shear tangential flow ultrafiltration.J Agric Food Chem 2007;55:5645-52. Epub 2007 Jun 14.

12. Ibanez M, Martinez M, Sanchez J, Fernandez-Caldas E. Legme cross-reactivity. Allergol Immunopathol 2003;31:151-61. [in Spanish]

13. Fredrikson M, Biot P, Alminger M, et al. Production process for high-quality pea-protein isolate with low content of oligosaccharides and phytate. J Agric Food Chem 2001;49:1208-12.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.

Find a Doctor

Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.

View Doctors

Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.