Proteins are long chain amino acids which we get from our diet. Our body needs protein as it is the building block of bones, muscles, skin, cartilage, hair, to digestive enzymes and immune system antibodies and all the cells in our bodies. They are used to grow, repair damage cells, maintain and create new ones. They are involved in almost every body function from fighting off bacteria, healing wounds to controlling blood sugar levels. So not getting enough protein can impact every aspect of our health. Protein is found in wide variety of foods, but highest source of protein comes from animals like meat, dairy, fish, eggs. Some plant foods like seeds and beans are also high in protein.
The amount of protein each person needs varies depending on the age, sex weight, height and activity level, but average recommendation for a person suggested by USDA for a person is half of his/ her body weight. For example; if a person’s body weight is 150 pound, he need to consume around 75 grams of protein every day. If you are trying to lose weight or building muscles, you will need more.
9 Signs Of Protein Deficiency:
Severely restrictive diet can contribute to protein deficiency. Here are some most common symptoms.
1. Constant Craving:
If you are not getting enough protein in your diet, your body may crave for sweets, caffeine, chips, chocolate candy etc. constant cravings for these unhealthy foods may lead to unstable blood sugar. Protein takes longer to digest. If your diet is mostly carbohydrates and lacks protein food it will take less time to digest and cause your blood sugar to rise. There will be constant spiking and dropping of blood sugar. Eating protein with carbs will help to digest the food slowly and overtime blood sugar will be stable.
2. Your Hair Is Thinning:
Hair fall or thinning of hair could be a sign of low protein intake. Hair is primarily made up of protein. Hair needs enough protein to stay healthy and grow. If you are not getting enough protein consistently, you will experience hair thinning and even hair fall. If there is lack of protein in your diet, body stops using protein for hair growth (non-essential things) and try to preserve or store it for other essential functions. Eating a high protein diet helps to get healthy, strong hair.
3. Weak Nails And Flaky Skin:
Protein is essential for the growth of nails and skin cells. When there is lack of protein in your diet your nail may become brittle and skin may become flaky. It can cause brownish spots on the nails. Protein deficiency can even cause rashes and other skin problems like dryness, cracking and flaking of the skin. Your skin may also get sun burn easily and become vulnerable to allergens and irritants.
4. You Feel Tired And Weak:
When you are constant feeling tired, low energy and strength and moodiness, the lethargy and weakness may be due to lack of protein in your diet. it usually happens when over time the stores of protein in your body is depleted, your body starts breaking down muscle tissue which leaves your body exhausted and tired. You may experience headache, nausea, loss of appetite and irritability.
5. You Often Get Sick:
Protein is needed to for building the components of immune system. Immune system needs right fuel to function to function optimally. When you are deficient in protein, it results in loss of T cells that fights germ. If you are deficient in protein, overtime immune system may get weak and cant ward of bacteria and virus and result is increased risk of infection.
6. Muscle, Bone And Joint Pain:
Protein is needed for muscle grow body stores protein as reserve around the joints to rebuild the muscles when required. When you lack protein in your diet, the body uses this reserve protein to rebuild and repair the muscles. The result is, joint stiffness and tightened muscles.
7. Not Getting Proper Sleep:
Not able sleep well throughout the night might be another concern when you are protein deficient. When you are protein deficient, body tend to crave carbs and sugar. Since sugar and carbs burn quickly, it creates unstable blood sugar levels which further lead to decrease in serotonin level and rise in cortisol. And you are deprived of a good night’s sleep.
Protein helps to maintain fluid balance within the body. Inadequate protein intake can effect body’s fluid balance and cause fluid retention on hands, ankle, feet and abdomen.
9. Slow Healing Of Wound:
Amino acids which are building blocks of protein are essential for wound healing. To heal itself body produces or repair tissues. Amino acids are required for repairing these tissues. Lack of protein hinders this process wounds takes longer time to heal.
Protein deficiency can be diagnosed easily through blood test. If you suspect you are deficient in protein, seek help from your physician. He will guide you how to increase your protein intake.