7 signs of protein deficiency: here’s how you recognize it

What are proteins and why does the body need them?

Along with carbohydrates and fats, protein is one of the most important nutrients in a balanced diet. Protein is made up of 22 amino acids, ten of which are essential, that is, they must be ingested through food. The rest can be done by the body itself. These amino acids include:

  • lysine
  • triptoane
  • leucine
  • valine
  • histidine
  • isoleucine
  • threonine
  • phenylalanine
  • methionine.

Proteins are the building blocks of the body because they are involved in building and maintaining muscles, part of hormones, enzymes and stabilizing tissues, the immune system and organs. Without protein, the body cannot regenerate itself, form new cells, hair, cartilage, bones, nails, muscles and new tissue, for example after an injury.

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How Much Protein Do I Need Per Day?

The German Nutrition Society establishes 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for adults. The DGE recommends 1 gram per kilogram of body weight for people aged 65 and over. A However, there is a greater requirement especially during a dietto protect against the breakdown of muscle mass, as well as during strength training to build muscle. So far, around 1.5 – 2.5 g of protein per pound of body weight has been recommended.

Can I also eat too much protein?
So far, there have been no major studies showing that consuming more than 2.5g of protein per pound of body weight causes harm to the body. People with weakness or kidney damage should be careful, as too much protein puts strain on the kidneys. Hyperacidity is also not caused by too much protein. True hyperacidity (acidosis) results from various lung function disorders, diabetes when blood sugar levels get out of control, extreme dieting, shock and poisoning from methanol, glycol, and medications.

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Recognize protein deficiency by these 7 signs

  1. loss of muscle mass
    If the body is not supplied with sufficient protein, it falls back on proteins in muscle tissue. As a result, the muscles are broken down, which reduces weight, calorie expenditure decreases, and the affected person becomes weaker.
  2. The immune system is weakened
    The body needs proteins to form antibodies. If it does not achieve this, the immune system weakens, making the body more susceptible to infections.
  3. food cravings
    Protein is difficult to digest and takes longer to break down the body, thus slowing the rise in blood sugar levels. Without enough protein, the blood sugar level fluctuates sharply, which leads to food cravings and often excess calories and weight gain.
  4. Impaired wound healing
    Too little protein slows wound healing, which means that wounds, but also damaged cells, are repaired or renewed with a delay.
  5. appearance
    People with a protein deficiency often suffer from hair loss, increased wrinkles, dark circles, brittle nails and a sallow complexion. A gingival recession is also possible.
  6. mood swings and mental illnesses
    A lack of protein can cause fatigue, tiredness, lack of concentration, dissatisfaction and, in the worst case, even depression.
  7. Swollen eyes and water retention
    If some proteins are missing in the blood, water can no longer be retained in the blood vessels, which means that it leaks into the surrounding tissue. Edema develops. As a result, the circuit is devoid of water. Sensors recognize this, after which the body expels less water. The amount of water in the tissues increases and the edema increases.
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Important: Since the symptoms are sometimes quite nonspecific and can also indicate other diseases, it is not that easy to quickly diagnose a protein deficiency as such. For this reason, you should first make a note of your symptoms and have them cleared up by a doctor.

What is the cause of this deficiency?

A protein deficiency is caused by:

The consequences of a protein deficiency

A protein deficiency can have a profoundly negative effect on health and on many areas and functions of the body:

  • Weakness and reduced resilience
  • tendency to fall
  • movement restrictions
  • Shallow breathing and lack of oxygen
  • Increased risk of pneumonia
  • immunodeficiency
  • development of heart failure
  • Damage to the intestinal barrier
  • Difficult digestion due to eg. B. Reduced release of digestive enzymes

How can I correct a protein deficiency?

Both animal and plant-based foods are suitable for meeting protein needs. However, foods of animal origin have a higher value. This means that the body can, on average, absorb more from animal proteins than from plant proteins.

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Sources of animal protein:

  • Meat and fish (ideally organic)
  • Quark
  • Cream Cheese, Ricotta, Feta
  • aged cheese
  • Yogurt
  • milk
  • egg
  • Whey protein powder, eg. B. of ESN and / or casein

Plant protein sources:

  • peanuts
  • seed
  • core
  • contact lenses
  • beans
  • tofu
  • quinoa
  • amaranth
  • oatmeal

But be careful!
A growing trend is the sale of foods with extra protein added. Often, however, this is only a fraction of the total nutritional value or not much more than conventional products. Especially when it comes to animal protein, you can always use conventional cream cheese or yogurt. These are usually cheaper too.

How to improve protein absorption

In order for you to be provided with enough protein each day, you should take enough time for your meals. The best way to do this is to schedule fixed eating times. If you’re a little hungry in the meantime, it’s best to use healthier, protein-rich alternatives like nuts or seeds instead of chocolate and gummy bears. A hard-boiled egg also satisfies cravings perfectly and also provides protein. To optimize your protein intake, you should first of all shop carefully. In addition, a sufficient amount of stomach acid is needed. Because the enzymes contained break down the protein molecules, which are then absorbed through the intestinal wall.