Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet and not consuming enough can cause serious health problems. Here is what you need to know about the signs and symptoms of protein deficiency and how much protein you need each day
As children, we often saw our elders fetch tins and boxes of “proteins” or “protein-rich” biscuits to add to the milk we drank. Almost all “energy powders” that were spooned into the milk we drank added proteins to our diets. Now, as grown-ups, we see serious bodybuilders and sportspersons, fitness enthusiasts, marathoners – all talking about the protein supplements that they take.
What is the importance of proteins –
Protein is a complex macronutrient which are found in certain foods, such as animal products and legumes. In its most basic form, a protein is a string of amino acids that create the building blocks for the physical parts of your body, including muscles, bones, skin, hair, nails, and organs. Protein deficiency, also called hypoproteinemia, is usually tied to overall low protein intake.
Signs and symptoms of protein deficiency –
Protein deficiency can cause a range of symptoms, which can vary based on the severity of the deficiency.
In mild cases of protein deficiency – Increased appetite, weakness and fatigue
In moderate cases of protein deficiency- Muscle atrophy, brittle nails, hair thinning
In severe cases of protein deficiency- Stomach bloating, liver failure, stunted growth and porous bones.
Causes of protein deficiency –
Protein deficiency is most commonly associated with malnutrition and an inadequate protein intake. The amount of protein you need depends on your age, health, and activity level. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) is a minimum of 0.36 grams per pound of body weight, so 54 grams of protein a day for someone who weighs 150 pounds.
Who all are at risk of protein deficiency –
1. Adults who are aged over 50
2. People who doesn’t consume animal proteins. However, they still can get enough proteins from plant sources such as soy, pea, pulses etc.
How to increase protein intake –
- By consuming protein rich foods like Nuts and seeds such as almonds, pistachios, cashews, and flax seeds
- Legumes, such as lentils and beans
- Eggs and seafood, like fish or shrimp
- Animal meat
- Dairy products
The average adult under age 65 is recommended to take 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Therefore, someone who weighs 68 kilograms (150 pounds) should have about 54 grams of protein per day.