Signs and Symptoms of a Protein Deficiency

Your body is dependent on protein. The immune system, nerves, brain, muscles, and organs are made up of protein. Regardless of the body structure, the likelihood that it has at least some protein in it is extremely great. With protein serving as a basic building block in the body, you will always need to take in the correct amount of protein to achieve and maintain optimal health.


are you low on protein?

are you low on protein?

To that end, there are some signs and symptoms associated with a protein deficiency. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should speak with your physician immediately.

Cravings for Food

Unbelievably, while it may seem logical to think that not eating enough protein will have you craving a T-bone steak or a triple-decker cheeseburger with a double order of bacon on top, the truth is you will seek something that will gratify you with more immediacy. A lack of protein in your diet leads to hunger cravings brought on by unstable blood sugar levels. Experts explain that in order to give your body what it’s craving, you are more likely to head for empty calorie junk food and sugary candies to appease your hunger.


If you are suffering from an illness and one of the symptoms is diarrhea, you can be relatively sure you are experiencing a protein deficiency as well. Chronic diarrhea may be a symptom of malabsorption: A condition where your body fails to absorb the nutrients you consume, including proteins. Triggers of diarrhea that are associated with malabsorption include things like Crohn’s disease, celiac sprue, digestive disorders, excessive alcohol consumption, and surgical procedures. Some drugs and infections may also trigger diarrhea.

Eye Swelling

When you are protein deficient, you will have a lower plasma level in your blood that can lead to Edema. If your liver is not storing a sufficient amount of iron, it can lead to a decrease in plasma protein that, in turn, leads to Edema. Your body needs iron in order to produce hemoglobin, so if you are lacking iron, you can end up with Anemia and subsequent swelling.


The body uses proteins to stabilize glucose levels. A lack of protein and erratic blood sugar levels can contribute to low energy levels. What’s more, a deficiency in protein can influence your mental alertness and the speed in which you respond to external stimuli. Thus, a lack of protein contributes to feelings of weakness and fatigue.

Frequent illnesses

Your immune system needs protein to function properly. Antibodies, white blood cells, and red blood cells all have proteins as a foundation, and all work together to fend off viruses, bacteria, and pathogens within the body. If you are noticing you are getting sick a lot, you may need to up your protein intake.

Hair Loss

A lack of protein can contribute to thinning hair. When your body is not getting the nutrients it requires, it will enter into energy saving mode. When this happens, the body will stop sending the limited proteins you have in the body to your nails and hair. This is why your nail and hair health are significant indicators when it comes to determining if you are experiencing a protein deficiency.

Loss of Muscle

If you do not get enough proteins in your diet, it will affect your muscles. When you have a deficiency in protein, your muscles begin to become smaller. If the protein deficiency continues, your body will begin to feed on its own tissues in order to get the protein it needs.

To ensure you are getting enough protein, you need to consume foods high in the nutrient. One food that is high in protein is Legumes. Since Legumes are mildly difficult on the digestive system, you might want to consider mixing them with other veggies when you consume them. Non-vegans can consume eggs for their high protein levels. Eggs also contain up to eight essential amino acids. Meanwhile, grains like amaranth and quinoa are also high in protein. You can find additional protein sources in dairy, fish, poultry, and meat products. Vegetarians might want to get their necessary proteins from beans, nuts, seeds, soy, peas, spinach, sweet potatoes, and other grains like oats, corn, rice, wheat, and buckwheat.

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