Polysorbate 80 is a synthetic compound that is commonly used as an emulsifier and stabilizer in food and cosmetic products, including protein powders. It is a type of surfactant that helps to mix together ingredients that would otherwise separate, and it also helps to prevent clumping and improve the texture and consistency of the product.
In protein powders, polysorbate 80 may be used to improve the mixability of the powder and to enhance the overall texture and mouthfeel. It is generally considered safe for use in food and cosmetic products when used in accordance with regulatory guidelines.
However, there is some concern about the potential health effects of long-term exposure to polysorbate 80. Studies have suggested that high doses of polysorbate 80 may cause damage to the liver and kidneys, and there is some evidence to suggest that it may increase the risk of certain types of cancer.