10 Signs You Might Have a Protein Deficiency

How to Recognize Protein Deficiency. Protein plays a vital role in the daily functioning of our bodies. If you don’t have enough of it, your body will suffer. According to UN data, around 1 billion people worldwide are protein deficient. How do you know if you’re one of them? You’d better watch out for these 10 signs and symptoms related to protein deficiency so you’ll know when there’s a problem.

To make things clear, when we say “not enough protein,” we mean somewhere under 56 g for men and 46 g for women per day. For kids, it varies from 19 g to 34 g depending on their age. This figure may also vary if you are pregnant or ill. According to the US Department of Agriculture, you can calculate a more specific amount using a simple formula. Try to eat about 0.36 g of protein for every pound of your weight.

Food cravings 0:41
Loss of muscle mass and joint pain 1:54
Skin and nail problems 2:41
Hair loss 3:24
Fatty liver 4:11
Increased risk of bone fractures 4:39
Sleep deprivation 5:19
Headaches and frequent illnesses 5:48
Swollen feet 6:18
Brain fog 6:38
Bonus: How to get enough protein 7:12


-If you always feel hungry and have cravings for food and snacks, it may be because of a low-protein, high-carb, and sugar-filled diet.
-When you’re unable to build muscle mass (even if you’re working out), this can lead to muscle waste or atrophy. It can also make you constantly feel tired and gain fat.
-A protein deficiency can result in weak and brittle nails. In a few cases, people might observe white bands and brownish spots on their nails. A protein deficiency can affect the skin as well because protein enables cell regeneration, produces new cells, and replaces dead ones.
-If you don’t get enough nutrients, your hair may thin and fade. This happens because the body stops using protein for nonessential things, like hair growth, in an effort to preserve it.
-A fatty liver is one of the most common symptoms of a protein deficiency. If left untreated, it can cause fatty liver disease, which leads to inflammation, liver scarring, and potential liver failure.
-Just as with your muscles, a low intake of protein can also affect your bones. Not having enough protein leads to a weakening of the bones, thus increasing the risk of bone fractures.
-If you have trouble sleeping or suffer from sleep deprivation, it’s likely linked to a protein deficiency.
-There can be multiple reasons for your headaches, and 2 reasons are anemia and low blood sugar levels. You can blame a lack of protein for both.
-Edema is a condition in which extra fluid builds up in your body and makes your legs swell. Harvard Health Publications links low protein levels and edema.
-If you experience a lack of motivation, poor memory, or trouble learning anything new, it’s a sign that you are protein deficient.
-To get enough protein, balance your meat, dairy, fish, and egg intake with healthy vegetarian and vegan proteins. Make beans, nuts and seeds (such as almonds, flax, chia, and hemp), spinach, and broccoli your new best friends.

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