18 Symptoms of Protein Deficiency​

Our culture has become obsessed with consuming protein for muscle mass gain and for losing weight. This means few of us are skimping on the stuff but, despite our national preoccupation with protein, some of us are still at risk of protein deficiency-namely vegetarians or people who tend to under-eat. The problem is, it can be tricky to identify what is considered “not enough” protein since the recommended intake spans a broad range, rather than one hard number. For somebody is eating a 2,000-calorie diet, enough protein could be between 50 grams to 150 grams of protein per day. Activity level and weight influence your ideal protein intake.

Even with a wide variety of protein sources available, some people experience protein deficiency symptoms due to a lack of protein intake. Severely restrictive diets, lack of knowledge about nutrients, and even poverty can contribute to protein deficiency. Look for these signs that your body is begging for more protein:

You Crave Sweets

One of the first clues you are low on protein: You start craving sweets and feel like you are by no means particularly full. Wouldn’t you think a protein shortage would trigger an urge for steak and eggs? But among protein’s most crucial functions is keeping your blood sugar regulated-which means if you are lacking protein, your glucose levels will fluctuate significantly, pushing you to reach for a quick fix like candy. The quick fix will give you energy straight away, then your energy is going to wane as rapidly as it peaked. That seesaw energy cycle drives your cravings. Regulate your blood sugar and the cravings vanish.

You Feel Lost in a Fog

Balanced blood sugar is crucial for staying focused. When you are protein deficient and your glucose levels are fluctuating constantly, you may feel a little foggy – like you can’t totally get with the program at work or at school. Why? Because you don’t have a constant and uniform stream of protein to fuel your brain. If you are relying on short lived carbohydrates such as those from bread, crackers or candy, you will experience only short bursts of mental energy, followed by a plunge back into the fog.


Edema is a gathering of fluid under the skin, which most frequently affects the legs, feet, and ankles but can occur anywhere on the body. Protein is required for maintaining a balance of water in your body; without it, you may store water improperly.

Hair Loss

Hair loss and thinning or brittle hair can also be caused by a protein deficiency. Protein is the building block of all of your cells including your hair follicles and hair. A protein deficiency may lead your hair follicles and your hair to lack the amount of protein it hey need to stay healthy. If you become deficient enough, your hair will begin to fall out.

Feeling Weak

Everybody knows that protein is essential for building muscle. Weakness and lethargy can be caused by a lack of protein in the diet. Over time, as your reserves of protein are depleted, your body will begin to break down muscle tissue, which will lead to general weakness or lethargy.

Always Sick

Your biceps aren’t the only thing that protein reinforces. Protein is needed to build all the compounds in our immune systems. If you seem to catch colds or infections more often than everyone else, but you are otherwise in good health, a protein deficiency could be to blame.

Slow Healing

Our skin is a huge immune organ because it protects us from the environment. Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, are crucial in healing wounds. When your body suffers damage such as cuts, bruises and sunburn it needs to repair or reproduce tissues. Amino acids amino acids are used in the repairs and reproduction of tissues and a lack of protein can lead to slower healing.

Sleep Issues

Difficulty in sleeping may be caused by a serotonin deficiency, which can be caused by a lack of specific amino acids. The required amino acids are produced when protein is broken down by the body. A diet with insufficient protein could lead to difficulty in sleeping.


Headaches can be caused by many things including a protein deficiency. A lack of protein may lead to headaches by:

• Causing anemia

• Causing low blood sugar

Nail Ridges

Ridges or white lines in finger and toe nails can be caused by a lack of protein. Ridges that run the length of the nail can indicate an ongoing protein deficiency, while a ridge that runs across the nail may indicate a deficiency that has passed.

Pale Skin

Skin that loses pigment and burns more easily in the sun can be caused by a lack of iron, as well as a lack of protein. Frequently, foods that are rich in iron also contain protein and protein is essential for the body to utilize iron properly. Anemia, or lack of iron, may result in pale skin.


Skin rashes, which may be accompanied by dry or flaking skin, are a symptom of a protein deficiency. Rashes are caused by extreme protein deficiency and may resemble eczema or other dry skin rashes.

Weight Loss

Severe weight loss is one symptom of a protein deficiency. It may be attributed to muscle wastage, as your body breaks down muscle in an attempt to get protein from them.

Other Symptoms

Not all of the symptoms of protein deficiency are physical. Some are emotional, or mental, and include the following:

• Crankiness, moodiness

• Problems with conflict resolution

• Depression

• Anxiety

• Lack of energy, no desire to do things

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Author: RobinsBlackSmithing