Protein is an essential nutrient categorized under macronutrients, which means that we need it more frequently. We cannot perform our daily activities if we do not consume enough protein regularly. What constitutes enough protein in our diet varies greatly from person to person. Our lifestyle, illnesses, lack of time, insufficient knowledge about the importance of nutrition, often take a toll on our diet which may affect the way our body functions and lead to insufficient or unhealthy eating.
Despite having a wide variety of protein sources, some people experience protein deficiency which can lead to health complications and damage to the immune system. So, here are the warning signs that you would probably notice when you have a protein deficiency
1. Fatigue: This is the first sign of protein deficiency. You start feeling weaker and more exhausted than normal. If you have lacked protein in your diet for a while, you've probably lost muscle mass, which then cuts your stamina. It would make you exhausted increase your disinterest toward your daily routine. Studies have shown that high protein intake at breakfast can help boost your energy levels and keep you balanced during the day.
2. Excessive hunger
Lack of protein in your diet can make you crave food. You will start feeling hungry within a short time after every meal. It is a known fact that protein helps build satiety levels or a feeling of fullness. Eating enough protein at each meal and at snack time will help you prevent cravings and feel satiated.
When your diet does not contain enough protein, it may result in edema otherwise known as water retention. When the blood protein, called albumin, levels drop in the body, fluid is retained in the tissues leading to edema. You notice swelling in the feet, ankles, lower legs, stomach, and hands. Sometimes stained skin is also observed in some individuals.
4. Brittle bones and stress fractures
Lack of protein in your diet can invariably affect bone and joint health. Since protein helps maintain the strength and density of bones, you must have an adequate amount of protein in your diet. Protein deficiency leads to protein reduced muscle mass, weakened bones thereby increasing the risk of fractures.
5. Muscle Loss and Weight Loss:
Our muscle is made up of protein. When we do not meet the daily protein requirement, the shrinkage of muscle and emancipation occur. A reduction of muscle mass is one of the first indications of protein deficiency in our bodies. This loss of muscle tissue can lead to underweight and improper functioning of the musculoskeletal system. Studies have shown that increased protein intake can help slow down muscle degeneration, which occurs as we age.
6. Weaker Immune System: Protein is the main precursor for various antibodies that fight infections. When our bodies do not meet the daily requirement of protein, it eventually becomes difficult for the body to prepare antibodies which results in a weakened immune system and health complications.
Apart from these most significant signs of protein deficiency, you may also find that your nails and hair have lost luster and are brittle. Collagen is the main protein that keeps our skin, nails, and hair stay healthy, lustrous, and strong. In order to have healthy hair, skin, and nails we must have a good amount of protein in our daily diet or supplement our diet with good collagen supplements sourced out from 100 percent animal protein.
How to Boost Your Protein Intake?
You must get significant amounts of protein for a balanced diet and a healthy body. For people with autoimmune conditions, animal sources of protein like organic red meats, wild-caught fish, and vegetarian sources like pulses and legumes, must be included in our daily diet. It's always wise to choose a protein package that contains healthy fats, all essential amino acids, beneficial fiber, and very little cholesterol.
How Much Protein Do You need daily?
Adult men below 70years with a bodyweight of about 130 lbs require 60g of protein daily. While Women around 120 lbs will need 55g of protein daily. Elderly people can benefit by increasing their protein intake up to 20 grams a day to maintain lean body mass and preserve body functions. For people with autoimmune conditions and those who are on the autoimmune protocol, a great way to increase your protein intake is to opt for a protein powder that is AIP/Paleo diet compliant. Our AIP/Paleo protein powder is also a great source of collagen made from clean ingredients and includes an organic super food blend.