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What are 6 signs of protein deficiency in your body?

Thu, Feb 04, 2021

Consuming sufficient protein is a must for ensuring seamless functioning of your body as per nutritionists and they are absolutely right. Protein holds responsibility for infusing energy into the body, enabling recovery and also keeping your belly full at the same time! Protein has long-chain amino acids, which are the foundation or building blocks for all muscle growth and development. Protein deficiencies occur whenever your regular intake of protein falls short of meeting the actual requirements of your body. Protein deficiency comes with several signs and symptoms that help doctors diagnose the issue and suggest corrective action likewise.

Protein deficiency is also referred to as hypoproteinemia which indicates low protein levels in the blood. This deficiency may occur due to dietary issues and also if the body is unable to suitably absorb and digest proteins within food items that are consumed on account of specific medical conditions. Any such deficiency hinders the smooth functioning of the body since proteins usually break down into valuable amino acids upon digestion. They enable proper body tissue growth and functioning while giving you healthier bones and muscles simultaneously. There are 9 vital amino acids along with 11 non-essential acids. The former should be consumed through the diet since the body cannot produce them on its own.


Dietary regulations recommended at least 10-35% of calorie intake regularly from protein. However, several researchers believe that this is too low and should be re-evaluated. A whopping majority of Americans, for instance, consume only 14-16% of daily calories from protein based sources. Deficiencies are often caused due to medical conditions such as anorexia nervosa, AIDS, COPD, renal failures, gastrointestinal problems and so on. You’ll be surprised to learn that protein deficiency is even commoner than you think! A study in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences revealed that roughly 1 billion people worldwide suffer due to inadequate intake of protein.

Major symptoms of protein deficiencies

Here’s taking a look at some major symptoms which clearly indicate protein deficiencies in the body.

  • Hair, nail and skin issues- Deficiencies may impact the health of the nails, skin and hair, which are majorly comprised of protein. Brittleness of the nails, skin redness, fading hair color and thinning hair are all symptoms to be noted.
  • Muscle mass losses- Your muscles are majorly comprised of protein and in case of any deficiencies, muscle mass losses will start becoming more visible.
  • Bone fracture risks- Risks of bone fractures exponentially go up with protein deficiencies since protein maintains the density and strength of your bones.
  • Higher calorie consumption- Sufficient intake of protein will keep you fuller for longer durations. However, sudden increases in daily calorie intake and appetite should be monitored carefully. Lower protein intake leads to more hunger pangs throughout the day.
  • Infection risks- Deficiencies may also impact the immune system which may be impaired as a result, leading to higher risks of infections.
  • Fatty liver- Another common outcome of any protein deficiency is fatty liver syndrome. This refers to excessive accumulation of fat in the liver cells and is a direct sign of deficiencies on a recurring basis.

It is recommended that you consume approximately 0.6 grams of protein for each kilogram of your body weight. Food items usually have varying protein content, although key sources include eggs, cereals, lentils, pulses, nuts, cheese, milk, fish and meat among others. While emphasizing upon protein content in your daily diet, make sure to balance it with the proper consumption of all food groups including fats, carbohydrates and essential minerals.