Proteins are essential nutrients that keep your body going. They are polymers made up of amino acids, which are important molecules needed for the different biochemical process in the body.
Protein is an integral part of every cell in your body.
The body uses this nutrient to build, repair and replace worn-out tissues; produce enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals; and also help build bones, muscles, skin, cartilage and even blood.
Unlike other nutrients like fat and carbohydrates, your body does not store protein.
So, you need to consume protein-rich foods from time to time in order to give your body a good supply of this essential nutrient.
1. Muscle Weakness
If you experience sudden muscle weakness or pain, it could be a sign that you are not eating enough protein.
Protein can be used as a fuel for your muscle, so your muscle will suffer when you lack enough protein.
Lack of protein can be a concern, especially in aged men. Men typically may experience loss of muscle mass due to aging and they lose even more protein if they are not eating enough protein via their diet on a daily basis.
If you don’t have sufficient protein, your body breaks down protein-rich tissues for muscle usage.
The initial effect of low protein intake is muscle wasting, which is accompanied by increasing weakness.
2. Frequent Food Cravings
Another common sign of insufficient protein is frequent food cravings.
Sweet craving is especially more common in people who are not getting the recommended amount of protein.
You may also experience sweet cravings even after eating something sweet. This occurs because you are taking in less protein and you are probably eating a diet high in carbohydrates and/or sugar in return.
This may lead to a sudden spike in your blood sugar level and make you feel hungry more frequently.
Also, protein takes a longer time to digest, which makes you feel full longer. This, in turn, regulates your blood sugar levels and helps you control your food cravings.
3. Lowered Immune Functioning
A low protein level may also make susceptible to diseases and sickness.
Since the immune cells are mostly made from proteins, they help keep your immune system functioning properly.
Proteins make up white blood cells (WBC), antibodies, blood proteins and a host of immune molecules, including cytokines and interleukins.
4. Poor Hair Health
Your hair is made mostly of a protein known as keratin, and this makes protein essential for hair health.
Protein is the building block of all cells and tissues; in fact, your hair follicle is made up of protein. Each and every of your hair strand requires an adequate dose of protein to grow.
So, when your body does not have sufficient protein, it starts conserving the little one and thus limiting protein output. The resulting effect is uncontrolled hair loss.
Apart from that, your hair also becomes dry and brittle.
5. Weak and Brittle Nails
Weak and brittle nails are one of the first common signs of lack of proteins.
Just like the hair, nails are also made up of keratins protein. So, to have a strong and healthy nail, you need to up your protein intake.
When your body doesn’t have sufficient protein, it does not have enough protein to grow strong nails. In addition, inadequate protein intake can cause white spots on your nails.
Furthermore, the lack of protein may lead to more frequent hangnails as well as cracks and tears in the nails. This can make your nails susceptible to infections such as nail fungus.
6. Fluid Retention
Abnormal accumulation of fluid also known as edema is another sign of low protein intake.
Protein is crucial in preventing fluid accumulation in tissues, especially in the feet and ankles, by retaining salt and water in the blood vessels.
Without enough protein, these fluids can escape into the surrounding tissues and lead to swelling of the lower legs and feet.