Proteins play an important role not only in muscles, but also in overall physical health. If there is a deficiency in this important nutrient, this can result in health problems and dangerous illnesses. It is therefore important to recognize the body’s signals of a protein deficiency early on.
In general, it should be clear that a nutrient deficiency does not occur suddenly. It develops rather gradually, which also applies to the lack of protein. Since the body’s cells and tissues are constantly being renewed, a regular protein intake is essential.
Symptoms of protein deficiency
If there is a protein deficiency, this can result in various symptoms. For example, muscle breakdown, increased susceptibility to infections, water retention in the lungs and tissue, and severe weakness and exhaustion can all indicate a protein deficiency.
A study also reports that a lack of protein increases the risk of abnormal blood clotting and that even a moderate protein deficiency puts those affected at risk of developing deep vein thrombosis.
Furthermore, hunger edema (kwashiorkor) is a possible consequence of a persistent protein deficiency. This potentially fatal form of protein-energy deficiency syndrome can severely impact the mental and physical development of young people. According to the researchers, symptoms include a swollen liver, a swollen stomach, swollen feet, skin depigmentation and thinning hair.
In a so-called marasmus, the protein deficiency is the result of malnutrition. Weakness, muscle loss, reduced muscle and fat content, reduced general vitality, increased susceptibility to infections, poorer mental health and weight loss are possible signs, according to the research team.
In addition, edema, discoloration of the skin and high blood pressure are possible consequences of the protein deficiency and if this is present over a longer period of time, it can also have negative effects on psychological well-being.
Last but not least, proteins are fundamental for the formation of antibodies. If there is a lack of protein, the body cannot produce these antibodies, which weakens the immune system and increases susceptibility to various diseases.
How to avoid protein deficiency
If there is no protein intolerance or similar illnesses, sufficient protein can be consumed through the diet relatively easily. According to nutritionist Nicole Hopsecger from the Cleveland Clinic (USA), the protein sources listed below are particularly suitable for this.
For example, the expert recommends consuming legumes such as beans, peas and lentils to increase protein intake. The vegetable protein it contains not only helps to lower LDL cholesterol, it also improves protection against chronic degenerative diseases.
In addition to a lot of lean protein, wild salmon also contains anti-inflammatory fats, including healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which the body cannot produce itself. According to the expert, these are known to lower triglycerides and blood pressure and reduce the clumping of blood platelets.
Consuming wild salmon helps to significantly reduce the risk of dangerous plaques and blood clots forming in the arteries, which can trigger life-threatening heart attacks and strokes.
According to Hopsecger, eggs are also a good way to increase your protein intake. At the same time, eggs have only a few calories and many important vitamins and minerals, which include, for example, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and choline present in the egg yolk, emphasizes the nutritionist.
Greek yogurt not only contains a lot of protein, but also probiotics, which are beneficial for the intestinal flora. Greek yogurt is also a good source of calcium and vitamin D, adds the nutritionist.
Pay attention to sufficient protein intake
Taken together, it can be said that a protein deficiency can have serious consequences for health, while a good supply of protein has far-reaching positive health effects. Therefore, the diet should urgently include sufficient protein foods. (as)