Protein Deficiency Symptoms
Look, protein deficiency symptoms are something real and most of the time it’s not that hard to spot them once you follow the clues… Take it from someone like me who went through that unpleasant yet educational experience.
I’m Ted Cohen and welcome to my blog… As an athlete and someone who is fussy about what goes into my body I guess I always wanted to start my own educational site. The internet has so much information but so little of wisdom. You have so much information in your hands yet you don’t know what to do with it…
Besides its no-brainer to know that if our body doesn’t get enough nutrition it needs to function well, it will send you SOS signals telling you that something is not going well right?
Here’s Why I Think Protein Deficiency Symptoms Are So Common.
Based on my personal experience no diet is perfect. I witnessed enough in my friends, colleagues and relatives to convince myself that there’s just no perfect diet, be it vegan, blood type or genetic makeup based, or even pure meat eaters. It all simply boils down to balancing what your body needs and what your diet consists of. Besides too much of anything can get you sick. Now let’s start with this study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21872435). Basically this study was done to get a better view on how dangerous low dietary intake of protein can be. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not against vegetarians as I can go vegan for weeks myself, I’m just here to help you understand why you might be experiencing protein deficiency signs. I’m all for a diet that’s been researched and backed by science.
Most of you will disagree with me but based on my own observation and research, going on a strict vegan diet that doesn’t include proteins of animal origin, can be not only life draining but life threatening too. I totally understand that there are also those who make dietary choices based on ethical or religious beliefs so I have no problems with that but given a choice you should reduce any possible risks to your health.
I’m sure you all know that protein deficiency is very obvious in developing or a third world country which is obviously due to malnutrition as a result of insufficient food supplies, famine and etc. What we’re talking about here is protein deficiency that is now so common even in developed countries where food is abundant yet lacking in proper nutritional value (food junk for example) or simply there are folks who are below poverty line: not all can afford nutritious meals with food coupons these days. Proteins play a crucial role in the proper growth and maintenance of the body, as they provide essential amino acids which the body cannot produce on its own. Since proteins are the basic building blocks of life, it is essential to make sure that your body gets adequate amounts of protein every day.
These are some of the most common protein deficiency symptoms. Not necessarily in that order.
- Fatigue and decrease in energy levels even when you never skip your plant based meals
When I was a vegetarian I felt superb, in fact I felt so light and energetic for the first months. I lost weight and reduced my blood pressure. So with these great results I came to believe that I have finally found that “perfect diet” you know, the diet that met all the “nutrition rules”. This belief however made me load up more on carbohydrates and exclude proteins from my every meal. And it was no surprise that I started feeling tired, I just couldn’t understand if it was sugar rush, or some kind of illness. So my day to day activities got a little boring and I started feeling a little depressed due to mental lack of motivation. Fortunately, due to my wife’s observation I was able to understand what was happening to me at that point in time. So I felt better after including red meat in my diet and not only that. I’m now more like 70% vegan and 30% meat lover…
- Muscle wasting
Ok this happens mostly to vegetarian athletes and even meat eaters too due to lack of proteins. I never reached that stage but it does make sense once you understand the relation between proteins and muscles. As you know if you don’t replenish your muscles with more proteins they can’t repair themselves after strenuous workouts. So you will notice that the more exercise you do the weaker you become and your muscles just don’t grow. This is also when your muscles lose their mass due to losing protein reserves to your body. I should mention that your proteins are actually stored in your muscles and if your body can’t get enough proteins from your daily meal intakes, it starts compensating that loss from your muscles.
- Edema (accumulation of fluid beneath the skin)
Now this one is tricky as edema can also be a result of other chronic diseases. If you’ve recently had a clean bill of health from your doctor and been on a vegan diet then that could be another telltale sign. Basically proteins are the gatekeepers of salt and water inside our blood vessels and their purpose is to make sure no fluid leaks into surrounding tissues.
- Brittle nails
This one is pretty easy to spot. Since nails are made of stronger protein called keratin, with less protein intake you will notice they become ridged, spoon-shaped and easy to break.
- Brittle hair and some thinning
Hair loss has many reasons so if it were me I’d rather take a look at current strength of my hair. Our hair consists of 91% keratinized protein and long chains of amino acids so brittle hair is a sure give away sign.
- Poor healing of wounds
Yeah this is something you should really watch out for. It does become very obvious whenever you get those accidental cuts, nose bleeds. But you need to rule out the possibility if you’ve been taking blood thinning medications or if you’re a diabetic. There are folks who are on anti-coagulant drugs or just consume blood thinning foods high in Vitamin K, for example nattokinase is one of them.
Mind you, no matter how obvious these symptoms are you will still need proper consultation and overview with a doctor, in fact it is a must for you get a comprehensive blood test periodically to make sure you’re actually not suffering from other illnesses. Some of the most common blood tests for vegetarians are:
- Complete Blood Count (CBC) with Differential and Platelets
- Comprehensive Metabolic Panel or CMP in short
- Homocysteine, Ferritin and Folic Acid levels
- Methylmalonic Acid, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D levels ( these are what usually vegetarians go for)
I also added a few more symptoms that will help you identify protein deficiency signs.
- sugar cravings
Always observe your carbs intake, if you notice you consume more of sweets, pastries, breads yet not getting that filling effect then your blood sugar could be levelled off. Usually unstable blood sugar results from protein deficiency as some portion of proteins get converted to fat or sugar to act as fuel so your body may not be getting it enough hence the cravings.
- muscle & joint pains and aches
Remember I mentioned earlier how protein reserves are needed for your muscles?
Here are some of those broader symptoms that may require further checkup but I just added as these too seem to be protein deficiency related.
- dry skin
- slight mental depression/anxiety (oh yeah this one is real of course provided you rule out other contributing factors such job, life stress and etc)
- inadequate sleep
- being more susceptible to colds