Diets and Nutrition

Protein Deficiency: Signs You Shouldn’t Miss

Symptoms of protein deficiency – Protein is without a doubt essential to life. The majority of your physical structure, especially your muscle tissue, is protein-based.


Protein isn’t just about skin, nails, and muscles though, it’s also significant in more subtle ways.

Symptoms of protein deficiency

Enzymes, the little machines that convert one substance into another for the sake of metabolic processes are all, in fact, tiny balls of protein.


Your hormones and some of your genetic material are also protein-based to varying degrees.


Protein is also an energy provider since it is a macronutrient and therefore has a caloric value.


So in knowing all this, it’s quite important to recognize that protein deficiency can have truly far-reaching consequences beyond just smaller muscles.


The Impact of Protein Deficiency


As we mentioned, protein plays a significant role in body structure, mainly in the skeletal muscles. An inadequate quantity of protein can lead to muscle wasting or atrophy.

Symptoms of protein deficiency

Other structural components such as your hair, skin, and nails will suffer tremendously too if there isn’t enough protein in the body.


Then you have the little old enzymes, the catalyst of metabolic reactions.


Without protein, you would have no enzymes which are polypeptides arranged in a globular clump.


Without enzymes, there is no such thing as life.


An example is your digestive enzymes, there are several of these.


Not having them means you can’t gain any sort of nutrition.


Another area where enzymes are essential is in your genetic coding.


In order for genes to be copied for you to get new cells, transcription enzymes are needed.


You instantly age and die without these DNA enzymes.


In fact, you probably would never exist since you need them to begin the cell replication process from conception.


How To Avoid Protein Deficiency


So protein, you need it, duh! But how do you avoid deficiency?


You might think it’s a simple case of just eating food with protein.


In most cases, that’s pretty easy to nail and the majority of humans get their required fix.

Symptoms of protein deficiency

But sometimes, we experience unique roadblocks in our path for protein.


Firstly, you need to remember that in order for protein demands to be considered met, you need to consume complete proteins.


A complete protein is one that contains all 9 essential amino acids.


These amino acids include:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan


Some people are subjected to circumstances where they aren’t getting a sufficient supply of all essential amino acids.


In such cases, it is important to recognize the deficit and solve the problem with dietary changes.


One example may be a plant-based diet.


While it is totally possible to get all essential amino acids from plants, it's not as straightforward as getting them from animal sources.


This is especially true for the fruitarian or fruit-based diet.


Sometimes, a health condition or environmental factor may be blocking the proper assimilation or metabolism of protein causing the effects of deficiency to be felt even where there is full availability.


This article will aim to indicate the warning symptoms of protein deficiency you should look out for so you can seek the necessary help and get back on track with healthy living.


5 Symptoms Of protein Deficiency


Chronic Fatigue


Feeling constantly tired and lethargic is a symptom of many things, one of them is protein deficiency.


The fact that it is such a common symptom of poor health in general means you can rely on this one less than any other on this list as an indicator of protein deficiency specifically.

Symptoms of protein deficiency

Nevertheless, it's something to keep in consideration as it will definitely pop up when your protein is low.


This happens because of the many metabolic activities that require protein such as your enzymes.


Of course, your muscle integrity will be affected as well.


Diminished Quality Of Sleep


Finding your sleep patterns disrupted or altogether missing could mean you are running low on protein.

Symptoms of protein deficiency

Having healthy levels of protein has been linked to better quantity and quality sleep.


The essential amino acid tryptophan seems to have its hand in helping us sleep better as it is a component of the hormone serotonin, a mood stabilizer that helps put us in the relaxed state necessary for good sleep.


High Cholesterol


Protein is necessary to balance blood lipid levels.

Symptoms of protein deficiency

When a protein deficiency is being experienced, one of the telltale symptoms of protein deficiency is an elevation in bad LDL cholesterol.


This can lead to a number of health concerns including heart disease, kidney problems, and stroke.


Declined Physical Performance.


With fatigue and a decline in metabolic efficiency comes an expected reduction in physical performance.


This is more readily felt by active individuals such as athletes, but even a person who is moderately active can feel the impact brought on by a lack of protein.


Increased Recovery Time


The time it takes to recover from training, injury or disease goes up when protein stock goes down.

Symptoms of protein deficiency


Symptoms of protein deficiency can also lead to a decline in immune function, leaving one vulnerable to infections with the potential of not being able to properly recover from them.




Protein deficiency can be a worrying situation.


It is, however, hard to pinpoint without a full spectrum of symptoms and tests.


The best solution is to just be mindful of your food and its nutrient profile to ensure you’re not only getting enough protein but enough of everything else.

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