Signs of Protein Deficiency

We are going to tell you how to recognize a deficiency of the most important building material of the body ─ protein ─ and how to deal with it.

Protein isn’t just for athletes. Even a person whose “maximum movement” includes nothing but a daily trip to the coffee shop around the corner needs about 1.3 grams of protein for every kilogram of weight. That is, if you weigh 55 kilograms, you will need 71.5 grams of protein per day. Moreover, it is impossible to deprive the body of protein every day: unlike fats and carbohydrates, proteins do not accumulate in the body. Here are just a few signs that you lack protein.

Depressed mood

Protein is essential for the synthesis of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is responsible for good mood. The consequences of low serotonin are sad: the mood gets worse, other people seem to be annoying, and their innocent remarks seem to be insults that require immediate punishment. Sleeplessness at night and daytime sleepiness are not very helpful.

Dull skin

Protein deficiency, in turn, causes collagen deficiency, since collagen is also a protein. This leads to a decrease in skin tone, the appearance of fine wrinkles, dryness, and a dull complexion.

Slow recovery

Protein is the main building block for cells, and if there is too little of it, it takes much longer to “repair” the damaged tissue. When scratches do not heal for weeks and irritations persist despite the best care, there is a reason to suspect you have protein deficiency.

Frequent swelling


Shoes and rings seem to be a torture machine, and in the morning, when you look in the mirror, you see bags under the eyes. Proteins are directly involved in water-salt metabolism. Without them, this process begins to malfunction, which is expressed in edema.

Weak hair and nails

Keratin, which makes up nails and hair, is also protein. If there is not enough protein, your manicurist and hairdresser may be the first to notice this: due to the deficiency, curls become dull, hair ends split, and nails are exfoliated – no shellac can mask this.

General weakness

Protein is needed by muscle cells – which is why bodybuilders are so passionate about protein shakes. Without the required amount of protein, muscle tissue will shrink and you will notice that even small efforts tire you: muscles ache even after a short walk, and you feel tired even if you have not got out of bed yet.

What to do?

Start by seeing your doctor. It also happens that we consume protein exactly as much as necessary, but it is simply not absorbed. The reason for this is gastrointestinal diseases, in particular, narrowing of the esophagus or ulcerative colitis. If there are suspicions, it is better to confirm or deny them when consulting a doctor.

Sometimes (in very rare cases) protein deficiency occurs because the body breaks it down too quickly, and protein breakdown occurs more intensively than tissue repair, for which, in fact, protein is needed.

Accelerated catabolism is characteristic of neoplastic diseases, extensive burns and serious injuries.

The next step is to revise your diet. Vegans and vegetarians, girls who are on too strict diets, as well as those who do not monitor the balance of calories, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, are at risk of getting protein deficiency in the body.

A protein-poor diet is the main cause of protein deficiency. The menu should be structured in such a way that even during fasting or dieting, you get enough of all the necessary nutrients.