6 Signs You Might Have a Protein Deficiency

Protein is the building block of your muscles, skin, enzymes, and hormones and it plays an essential role in all body tissues. The average person probably needs half his or her body weight in protein a day. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you need at least around 75 grams of protein a day.

Most foods contain some protein so true protein deficiency is rare in developed countries. However, some people may still be at risk. Deficiency leads to various health problems, while low protein intake may also be a concern as it can cause subtle changes in your body over time.

Below are the 6 symptoms of low protein intake or deficiency:

1. Hunger

Constant or frequent physical and or emotional hunger is often a sign we are not fueling our body properly. Especially if this hunger is happening after meals or frequently throughout the day regardless of snacking or skipping meals. Protein is needed to promote signals of satiety to the brain and stabilize blood sugar. Precious amino acids from protein are needed for many biological processes in the body as well. Ensure adequate protein by aiming for 20-35 grams at each meal and consider adding protein in snacks when hungry between meals.

2. Muscle Loss

Fatigued muscle, increased body fat, and loss of muscle can all be signs of inadequate protein intake as amino acids from protein are the building blocks of muscle. When the diet is low in protein, the body is forced to break down muscle mass in order to gain amino acids to use for various processes in the body. Prevent muscle mass loss by aiming for 4-5 oz of biological protein with meals and ensuring repletion of amino acids post workout with a grass-fed whey protein smoothie.

3. Depression

Remember amino acids such as tryptophan or tyrosine act as precursors to neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine that can lead to depression and changes in mood and anxiety when off balance. Ensure adequate protein intake at meals and snacks to promote a positive mood and prevent cravings.

4. Fatigue

A deficiency in protein can certainly lead to both muscle fatigue and brain fog or fatigue. Inadequate protein can promote muscle wasting leading to muscle cramps and fatigued muscle.

Amino acids such as glutamine are used alongside glucose in the muscle for fuel. Also as mentioned above, amino acids are needed to build neurotransmitters involved in cognitive function and memory as well as brain fog.

5. Hair Loss

Both collagen and keratin are the main components of hair and both of these products are comprised of amino acids from protein. Inadequate dietary intake can certainly lead to hair loss as the body needs amino acids such as cysteine, lysine, arginine, and methionine to form hair.

If hair loss is an issue, consider also working with Collagen Peptides which are naturally found in bone broth and is a great source of amino acids to promote both hair, skin, and nail growth.

6. Fluid Retention

Protein is necessary to maintain an adequate balance of fluid in and outside of the cells. Without proper protein coming from the diet, the body often will retain fluid on the outside of cells causing both fluid retention or edema particularly around the abdomen and dehydration of the cells.

Ensure proper water balance and reduce fluid retention by aiming for 20-35 grams of healthily sourced biological protein with each meal.