9 Signs of Protein Deficiency

9 Signs of Protein Deficiency

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“Protein is the building block of yourself. It’s the building block of your muscles and also is present in the foods that are going to boost your metabolism and fat-burning potential. Nothing is more important than protein. It really is the fuel that motivates and really supports your body in building healthy tissues and cells.” – Dr. Josh Axe

Protein consists of long chains of amino acids, which are considered essential elements for development, growth, and maintenance of the body. Amino acids are found in several food sources, particularly in eggs, dairy, fish, and meat. Certain plant foods, nuts, and seeds are good sources of protein, as well.

Our muscles, organs, and tissues are all structured from assembled proteins. Functionally, proteins play a role in nearly every way. Protein helps to heal wounds, control blood sugar levels, and neutralize bacteria.




It’s recommended that most people need to eat about 50 percent of their body weight in protein every day. If you’re a 120-pound female, for example, it’s a good idea to aim for 60 grams of protein.

Making protein consumption a priority helps with fat-burning, and with building and maintaining healthy muscles. As a general rule, the more active one is, the more protein required. This is because proteins are always dissipating and must be replenished.

Most people are protein deficient to some degree. As protein is involved in pretty much every bodily function, symptoms will arise that signal a shortage of these vital biomolecules.


In this article, we’ll discuss nine signs of protein deficiency – and how you can replenish your protein levels.

First, here are potential signs that you’re protein-deficient:

1. Anxiety and moodiness

As mentioned, amino acids are the building blocks of just about everything in the body. This includes the chemical messengers within the brain, or neurotransmitters. The synthesizing of amino acids produces dopamine and serotonin, the two brain chemicals responsible for drive, memory, and happiness.

2. Being injured more frequently

Protein is a precursor to calcium absorption; the latter is responsible for strengthening our bones. It is unsurprising, then, that insufficient protein can lead to bone and muscle injury. We’re more likely to develop bone fractures, bone weakness, and even osteoporosis.

3. “Brain fog”

Brain fog is an umbrella term which encompasses several symptoms: fatigue, confusion, lack of focus, trouble concentrating, memory problems, and diminished mental acuity. Almost always, the problem is some sort of chemical imbalance within the brain. Dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and serotonin are all chemicals within the brain needed to focus. Low protein levels can throw these chemicals off.


4. High cholesterol

Lack of protein in the body is often supplemented with carb-laden or fatty foods. As blood-sugar levels are discombobulated from low protein levels, we’re more likely to crave a sugary snack. The end-result is inflammation and hormonal imbalances; both of which contribute to higher LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.

5. Gastrointestinal problems

Healthy metabolism and digestion (surprise!) require plenty of amino acids. When this is not the case, our gut throws a fit by producing fewer enzymes and reducing the contractions necessary for digestion and excretion.

6. Irregular menstrual cycles

Dr. Joshua Axe explains, “Low-protein, high-sugar/high-carb diets can contribute to insulin resistance, fatigue, inflammation and weight gain that disrupts the delicate balance of female hormones (including that of estrogen, progesterone, and DHEA) needed to sustain a regular cycle.”

7. Rough workouts

We all know that adequate protein is necessary to gain muscle mass – but it’s necessary for muscle function, as well. Furthermore, even if you do work out on the regular, your results will be adversely affected. This is usually because of one or two reasons: (1) you don’t have the energy needed to go “all out,” or (2) your muscles can not properly recover because of protein deficiencies.


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