7 Best Protein Powders Without Heavy Metals in 2024

Author: Oleksandr Maksymenko (5 years as FPA-Certified Nutritionist, MS in Sports Dietetics)

Concerned about consuming heavy metals? With heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and cadmium all being linked to some serious health issues, you’ll want to avoid them at all costs. There is some concern around protein powders and other supplements containing these harmful elements, which is why we’ve made a list of the best protein powder without heavy metals. If you’re worried about your protein containing heavy metals, take a look at these options!

 In a hurry? 

In a hurry?

In a hurry and can’t keep reading? How about you check out the Naked Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder.


Promix has one of the best price offers in this all natural pre workout rating. This brand uses the slogan "No Artificial Anything". Therefore, if this is an important factor for you when choosing a supplement, this product will not disappoint you.

Our expert squad of certified nutritionists, coaches, medical professionals, and pro athletes conducted comprehensive tests on more than 20 protein powders without heavy metals to find the best ones, and 7 of them made the cut. Each protein powder was closely examined against 6 of the most important factors, and our team spent over 6 weeks testing the majority of them. Alongside our direct evaluations, we've reviewed a plethora of online user reviews. We frequently update this list, so don't hesitate to leave a comment, share your own experiences, and get involved!

7 Best Protein Powders Without Heavy Metals
ProductTotalMacronutrient BreakdownTaste/FlavorNutrition Label TransparencyFat Content TransparencyMixabilityValue For Money
Naked Grass-Fed Whey58.5109.51010109
Promix Whey57.5109101099.5
Naked Pea Protein57108.510108.510
Ora Organic56.5109101098.5
Pure Protein568.5109.510108
Sunwarrior55.581099109.5
Biochem558.51099108.5
Naked Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder
Diet Type: Build Muscle, Recovery, Cutting
Suitable for Vegans: No
Protein Source: Grass-Fed Whey
Serving Size: 30-38g
Price per Serving: ~$1.25-1.58
Protein Percent of Calories: 62-83%
Calories: 120-160
Protein: 25g
Carbohydrates: 3-8g
Fat: 2-3g
Sugar: 2-7g
Company Founded: 2014
Recommended by Athletes: Kenzie Mariano, Daniel Victor

Starting off our list, and the best pick for a heavy metal free protein powder, is Naked’s grass-fed whey. Committed to delivering some of the highest quality supplements on the market, Naked is a natural fit for this list because of their rigorous third-party testing.

Their products are independently tested using ICP Mass Spectrometry to ensure they contain very low levels of heavy metals in each serving. As the results on their product page show, they have <0.30 MCG of arsenic, and <0.15 MCG of cadmium, lead, and mercury in each serving. These results should give consumers worried about heavy metals the confidence to purchase Naked’s products worry-free.

Performing Naked Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder

Aside from this, Naked offers an all-around great whey protein. With a solid 25g of protein per serving, and a high-quality formula using only 3 ingredients, including grass-fed whey, you can be sure you’re getting a great product. The one downside is that because of the varying macros between flavors, you will be getting a slightly pricier and less concentrated protein if you opt for chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry over the unflavored variety. 

58.5Expert Score

It's have <0.30 MCG of arsenic, and <0.15 MCG of cadmium, lead, and mercury in each serving. These results should give consumers worried about heavy metals the confidence to purchase Naked’s products worry-free.

Macronutrient Breakdown
10
Taste/Flavor
9.5
Nutrition Label Transparency
10
Fat Content Transparency
10
Mixability
10
Value for Money
9
(Show More)

Positives:

  • Independently tested for heavy metals

  • Comes from high quality, grass-fed whey

  • Unflavored option has some of the best macros on our list

Could be better:

  • Macros vary between flavors

  • Unflavored variety won’t appeal to everyone, despite having great macros

Promix Whey Protein Powder
  • Diet Type: Build Muscle, Recovery, Cutting
  • Suitable for Vegans: No
  • Protein Source: Grass-Fed Whey
  • Serving Size: 31-40g
  • Price per Serving: ~$0.93-1.24
  • Protein Percent of Calories: 63-83%
  • Calories: 120-160
  • Protein: 25g
  • Carbohydrates: 3-10g
  • Fat: 1.5-3.5g
  • Sugar: 1-5g
  • Company Founded: 2011
  • Recommended by Athletes: Odell Beckham Jr., Audrey & Nicole Nourse, Rashaad Slowley

Next on our list, we have Promix’s Whey Protein Powder. This product has a lot of similarities to Naked’s whey, including that it’s independently tested for heavy metals.

Similar to Naked, Promix uses ICP Mass Spectrometry to test for metals. Their results show <5.0 ppb for mercury and lead, and <10.0 ppb for cadmium and arsenic which confirms the low content of heavy metals in the supplement. They also test for other contaminants like the pesticide, glyphosate which has a very low result as well. 

Promix also has very similar macros to Naked’s whey, with both supplements containing 25g of protein in each serving, and having a nearly identical range of protein concentration between flavors. Promix also has a similarly simple, high-quality formula, using grass-fed whey. Where Promix wins some points over naked is that it comes at a noticeably lower price point.

Why we ultimately chose Naked as our top pick over Promix is that their protein is that some reviews suggest a poor mixability and flavor. Otherwise, this is a great pick for those looking to avoid heavy metals.

57.5Expert Score

Promix uses ICP Mass Spectrometry to test for metals. Their results show <5.0 ppb for mercury and lead, and <10.0 ppb for cadmium and arsenic which confirms the low content of heavy metals in the supplement.

Macronutrient Breakdown
10
Taste/Flavor
9
Nutrition Label Transparency
10
Fat Content Transparency
10
Mixability
9
Value for Money
9.5
(Show More)

Positives:

  • Lab results show very low levels of heavy metals

  • Great macros, especially for the unflavored variety
  • Great budget option

Could be better:

  • Some reviews suggest poor flavor

  • Reviews suggest poor mixability as well

Naked Pea Protein
  • Diet Type: Building Muscle, Improving Recovery, Cutting
  • Suitable for Vegans: Yes
  • Protein Source: Pea Protein Isolate
  • Serving Size: 30-38g
  • Price per serving: $0.76-0.97
  • Protein Percent of Calories: 62-90%
  • Calories: 120-160
  • Protein: 25-27g
  • Carbohydrates: 2-8g
  • Fat: 0.5-4g
  • Sugar: 2-5g
  • Company Founded: 2014
  • Recommended by Athletes: Kenzie Mariano, Daniel Victor

Next up we have another option from Naked, which is its Pea Protein. This is the first of 3 vegan options on our list, and the cheapest protein on our list by a decently wide margin, making it the best vegan protein powder without heavy metals.

Similar to Naked’s whey, its pea protein is independently tested for heavy metals. The results show the same levels of each heavy metal for Naked’s pea and whey. Arsenic is below <0.30 MCG per serving, and cadmium, lead, and mercury are all below <0.15 MCG. Once again, if you’re truly concerned about the presence of heavy metals, buying one of these independently tested products is the best way to make sure there is very little present in your protein.

Performing Naked Pea Protein

Looking at the macros, Naked offers one of the highest protein, most densely packed vegan protein supplements on the market. At 27g per serving and a 90% protein concentration for the unflavored option, macros don’t get much better than that! Keep in mind that if you go for chocolate or vanilla instead, you will be getting a slightly more expensive shake with a much lower protein concentration.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that pea protein has a different consistency to whey protein, and does not mix nearly as smoothly. Keep this in mind if you’ve never tried pea protein before buying this product.

57Expert Score

Similar to Naked’s whey, its pea protein is independently tested for heavy metals. The results show the same levels of each heavy metal for Naked’s pea and whey. Arsenic is below <0.30 MCG per serving, and cadmium, lead, and mercury are all below <0.15 MCG.

Macronutrient Breakdown
10
Taste/Flavor
8.5
Nutrition Label Transparency
10
Fat Content Transparency
10
Mixability
8.5
Value for Money
10
(Show More)

Positives:

  • Independently tested similar to Naked’s other products

  • Great macros, especially for a vegan protein
  • Cheapest option on our list

Could be better:

  • Texture is very different from whey and will put some off

  • Concentration for flavored varieties is much lower than the flavored option

Ora Organic Vegan Protein Powder
  • Diet Type: Building Muscle, Improving Recovery, Cutting
  • Suitable for Vegans: Yes
  • Protein Source: Ora Protein, Superfood, & Greens Blend (Pea Protein, & Rice Protein)
  • Serving Size: 29-32.5g
  • Price per serving: $1.65
  • Protein Percent of Calories: 68-84%
  • Calories: 120-130
  • Protein: 22-23g
  • Carbohydrates: 1-5g
  • Fat: 2.5-3g
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Company Founded: 2015
  • Recommended by Athletes: CoupleyFitt, Dr. Sam Attard, Whitney Fransway

Next on our list we have another vegan option, this time coming from Ora Organic.

Similar to the last 3 products on our list, Ora proudly tests all its supplements to ensure they don’t contain any heavy metals. As it says on their website, they independently test for heavy metal content, as well as microbial contaminants, and pathogens. The one downside here is that they don’t actively display their testing results, so it’s difficult to say how much of each heavy metal Ora’s products actually contain.

Moving on to Ora’s macros, they don’t have the best breakdown on our list. While 22-23g of protein is decent for a vegan supplement, it’s significantly lower than Naked’s pea protein. Especially at $1.65 per serving, there is a noticeable jump in price from Naked as well.

What does win Ora some points back from Naked is its long list of “superfood” ingredients like kale, acai, and blueberry, which help to boost Ora’s micronutrient profile. These are not must-have ingredients for protein powder, but this is a good option if you want to make your protein shake a little richer in micronutrients.

It’s worth noting that this protein will also have a different flavor and texture to whey, especially if you’re buying the unflavored option. Although some people won’t mind, it’s worth considering if you’re planning on making the switch from whey.

56.5Expert Score

Ora proudly tests all its supplements to ensure they don’t contain any heavy metals. As it says on their website, they independently test for heavy metal content, as well as microbial contaminants, and pathogens.

Macronutrient Breakdown
10
Taste/Flavor
9
Nutrition Label Transparency
10
Fat Content Transparency
10
Mixability
9
Value for Money
8.5
(Show More)

Positives:

  • Independently tested for heavy metals

  • Tested for microbial contaminants and pathogens as well
  • Added “superfood” ingredients

Could be better:

  • Flavor and texture may be unappealing to some

  • One of the more expensive choices on our list

Pure Protein 100% Whey
  • Diet Type: Building Muscle
  • Suitable for Vegans: No
  • Protein Source: Whey Protein Concentrate & Isolate
  • Serving Size: 39.6-41.2g
  • Price per Serving: ~$1.78-1.87
  • Protein Percent of Calories: 63%
  • Calories: 160
  • Protein: 25g
  • Carbohydrates: 9g
  • Fat: 2.5g
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Company Founded: 1999
  • Recommended by Athletes: Jordan Morello, FlyxSky TV, Garrett Miller

Next, we have another whey option, this time coming from Pure Protein.

One of the main reasons we’ve chosen this protein for our list is for its inclusion in an article on consumerreports.org about heavy metals in protein powders. This article highlighted a study done by the Clean Label Project which tested various proteins for heavy metals, pesticides, and BPA. Ultimately the product that got the best score was Pure Protein, specifically their vanilla whey. Although the company does not directly test for heavy metals, this study should give buyers confidence in Pure Protein’s quality.

With that being said, this is one of the pricier options on our list at nearly $2 per serving. Also, at a 63% protein concentration, it is one of the least dense proteins on our list. Also, at 160 calories per serving, this is a great choice for those looking to bulk up.

While its recommendation from the Clean Label Project is a great seal of approval, the tradeoff is a more expensive, less densely packed protein.

56Expert Score

Ultimately the product that got the best score was Pure Protein. Although the company does not directly test for heavy metals, this study should give buyers confidence in Pure Protein’s quality.

Macronutrient Breakdown
8.5
Taste/Flavor
10
Nutrition Label Transparency
9.5
Fat Content Transparency
10
Mixability
10
Value for Money
8
(Show More)

Positives:

  • Positive rating from Clean Label Project

  • Solid protein content at 25g per serving
  • Great flavor and mixability

Could be better:

  • One of the priciest options on our list

  • One of the least densely packed options as well

Sunwarrior Vegan Protein
  • Diet Type: Building Muscle, Improving Recovery, Cutting
  • Suitable for Vegans: Yes
  • Protein Source: Proprietary Protein Blend (Organic Pea Protein, Hemp Seed Protein, Goji Berry)
  • Serving Size: 25g
  • Price per Serving: ~$1.26
  • Protein Percent of Calories: 71-76%
  • Calories: 90-100
  • Protein: 16-19g
  • Carbohydrates: 0-2g
  • Fat: 2-2.5g
  • Sugar: 0-1g
  • Company Founded: 2008
  • Recommended by Athletes: Meghan Dizon, Fueled by Donuts, Don Reichelt

Up next, and the last vegan protein on our list, is Sunwarrior.

While Sunwarrior isn’t as upfront about heavy metals in their products, if you do a little digging, you can see that they do actually test for heavy metals. They use a certified-third party lab for all their testing. Although they do not share their exact results, they do state that their product meets necessary standards for heavy metal content. It is unclear why Sunwarrior isn’t as upfront about this as some of the other companies on our list, but nonetheless, they do fully test for heavy metals in all their products.

In terms of nutrition, Sunwarrior is a solid vegan protein. Although it has the lowest protein content on our list at 16-19g per serving, it’s relatively affordable at just over a dollar per serving. Where it stands out is its taste and texture, being one of the most delicious plant-based proteins on the market. 

55.5Expert Score

They do state that their product meets necessary standards for heavy metal content. It is unclear why Sunwarrior isn’t as upfront about this as some of the other companies on our list, but nonetheless, they do fully test for heavy metals in all their products.

Macronutrient Breakdown
8
Taste/Flavor
10
Nutrition Label Transparency
9
Fat Content Transparency
9
Mixability
10
Value for Money
9.5
(Show More)

Positives:

  • Independently tested, although this isn’t prominently displayed

  • Great flavor and texture
  • Relatively affordable for vegan protein

Could be better:

  • Low protein content

  • Not very upfront with testing results

Biochem Whey Protein
  • Diet Type: Cutting
  • Suitable for Vegans: No
  • Protein Source: Whey Isolate
  • Serving Size: 24-25.3g
  • Price per Serving: ~$1.86
  • Protein Percent of Calories: 89%
  • Calories: 90
  • Protein: 20g
  • Carbohydrates: 2g
  • Fat: 0.5g
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Company Founded: 1998
  • Recommended by Athletes: Emily Breeze, Cara Celeste West, Daniel Gray

Finally, we have BioChem’s Whey Protein, which earns a spot on our list for a similar reason to Pure Protein.

Just like Pure Protein, BioChem was featured in consumerreports.org's article on the Clean Label Project’s study. It also received a top 5 score in terms of their criteria, largely based on heavy metal content. Once again, although Biochem does not appear to independently test themselves, these results should give anyone worried about heavy metals confidence to buy.

Performing Biochem Whey Protein
Photo by @atreidesheir

Once again, similar to Pure Protein, Biochem loses points based on its price and macro breakdown. At ~$1.86 per serving, it is one of the most expensive options on our list. Also, although it has a great protein density score of 89%, at only 20g of protein per serving, it has one of the lowest protein contents per portion on our list.

55Expert Score

It also received a top 5 score in terms of their criteria, largely based on heavy metal content. Once again, although Biochem does not appear to independently test themselves, these results should give anyone worried about heavy metals confidence to buy.

Macronutrient Breakdown
8.5
Taste/Flavor
10
Nutrition Label Transparency
9
Fat Content Transparency
9
Mixability
10
Value for Money
8.5
(Show More)

Positives:

  • Great score from the Clean Label Project’s study

  • High protein density
  • Great flavor and texture

Could be better:

  • Relatively low protein content per portion

  • Very high price

  • Small package size at less than a pound

What are Heavy Metals and What are the Dangers?

The main heavy metals that are of concern are lead, cadmium, mercury, and arsenic, however other metals like zinc and copper may be of concern as well. These primarily get into food products through metals in soil that are absorbed by plant ingredients during farming. Food and water also can be contaminated at any stage of the food web and supply chain.

While it’s unlikely any product will expose you to high levels of heavy metals at once, there are dangers associated with long term exposure to small amounts. These primarily include neurological dysfunction, insomnia, nausea, and chronic tiredness, amongst others. Overall, although the health risks associated with heavy metals aren’t fully understood, it appears consuming them in low levels is .

Training With Echo Bike

Is this a Real Problem, Heavy Metals in Protein Powders?

As shown by the Clean Label Project mentioned earlier in our article, out of the 134 products they screened, many protein powders did in fact contain high levels of heavy metals. Although most of these do not have high enough levels to cause effects right away, as previously mentioned, prolonged exposure may lead to some pretty serious health issues. It does also appear like heavy metals in whey protein are less common than heavy metals in vegan proteins.

How to Choose a Protein without Heavy Metal Contamination?

Some of the best ways we recommend checking if a protein has high heavy metal content is to check the company’s independent testing results, or to see how they stack up based on the Clean Label Project’s results. This way you can be confident the company’s you’re buying from are committed to keeping their products free from heavy metals.

Deadlifting With a Heavy Weight

FAQ

Do All Protein Powders have Metal?

It is virtually impossible to find any food product that doesn’t contain at least trace amounts of heavy metals. However, it is only of concern when these products do not test for heavy metal content, and potentially have very high amounts of these contaminants.

What Proteins do not Contain Heavy Metals?

The best way to find proteins that contain minimal levels of heavy metals is to check their independent testing results, or to see how they’re rated by the Clean Label Project. Just keep in mind that all proteins will have some minute level of heavy metals.

Conclusion

It’s a good idea to find a protein with minimal levels of heavy metals because of the potential health problems long-term exposure to these elements can cause. Our top pick for a protein free from heavy metals is Naked’s Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder, however, all the options on our list are great picks as well!

If you decide to buy any of these products, let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Also read:

References:

  • ICP-MS as a Technique // OHSU: https://www.ohsu.edu/elemental-analysis-core/icp-ms-technique
  • CFR - Code of Federal Regulations // AccessData: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm
  • How we test our products // Ora: https://ora.organic/en-ca/pages/testing
  • Arsenic, Lead Found in Popular Protein Supplements // CR: https://www.consumerreports.org/dietary-supplements/heavy-metals-in-protein-supplements/
  • Our Commitment // Sunwarrior: https://sunwarrior.com/pages/our-commitment-to-quality-the-planet-and-you
  • Environmental Contaminants in Food // FDA: https://www.fda.gov/food/chemical-contaminants-pesticides/environmental-contaminants-food
  • In the news – Heavy Metals in Food // MSU: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/heavy-metals-in-food
  • Analysis of Heavy Metals in Foodstuffs // NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6465990/
  • The hidden dangers of protein powders // Harvard Medical School: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-hidden-dangers-of-protein-powders
  • The consumer standard for food and consumer product quality and safety // CleanLabel: https://cleanlabelproject.org/

Why Trust Us?

With over 20 years in Olympic Weightlifting, our team does its best to provide the audience with ultimate support and meet the needs and requirements of advanced athletes and professional lifters, as well as people who strive to open new opportunities and develop their physical capabilities with us.

All products we select are primarily approved and tested by the Olympic Weightlifting Champion Oleksii Torokhtiy. Under his guidance, we provide honest and reasonable assessments of the products we review by checking their characteristics, packaging, design, comfort and durability features, and general product rating. We select products from only high-quality and trusted sports brands, thus vouching for their quality.

The product testing process is described in more detail here
Oleksandr Maksymenko

Sports Nutritionist, MSc

Experience: 7 years

Specializing in: Weight management, Fitness / Sports nutrition

Oleksandr is a professional fitness nutritionist, certified by FPA (Fitness Professional Association). Oleksandr adheres to the principles of evidence-based dietetics and instills in his clients a healthy relationship with food - without strict prohibitions on favorite foods and regular disruptions. His main task – not only get a result for you, but also maintain it for many years, enjoying tasty and delicious food.


If you have any questions/suggestions/any other inquiry, you can reach out to us via email - reviews@torokhtiy.com

This article was written by our qualified author and proofread by expert with proven experience. When writing the article we use our expertise and data from open sources with strong reputation, scientific or medical based. The list of references is provided at the end of the article.


Our team of authors and experts includes professional athletes (Olympians, winners of European and World titles) PhD in Sport Science, certified coaches, sports nutritionists, CSCP, physiotherapists and other. Read more about the team here, and more about how we test here.

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