Three Warning Signs of Protein Deficiency You Shouldn’t Ignore

A man feels pain in his ankle while jogging

We hear a lot about the importance of protein, so it makes sense that you may think to yourself, “Am I protein deficient?” While most people aren’t, protein deficiency is a real thing and should be taken seriously. Anyone can become protein deficient no matter what kind of diet they subscribe to. Take care of your health by educating yourself on the three warning signs of protein deficiency you should never ignore.

Signs of Protein Deficiency to Not Ignore: Low Immune System 
Do you find yourself getting sick a lot? If you otherwise feel fine but tend to be prone to catching the common cold, there could be an underlying issue with your immune system and protein is key to a healthy and strong immune system. Incorporating more protein-dense foods into your diet may be just what you need to boost your immunity. Protein is the foundation of your body’s antibodies, white blood cells, and red blood cells which come together to fight viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens that enter your body. A person suffering from protein deficiency may have an impaired immune system, which could also affect everything from muscle recovery to wound healing.

Signs of Protein Deficiency to Not Ignore: Edema or Swelling
Protein plays an integral role in keeping excess fluids from accumulating in a person’s bodily tissues by pulling water into blood vessels as it travels through the blood. Insufficient or profoundly low protein or albumin levels in the body tend to cause fluids to leave blood vessels and build up in tissues. Swelling in the legs, feet, and abdominal cavities are some of the graver telltale signs of a serious protein deficiency, medically known as edema. This condition tends to be most notable in the cheeks, ankles, feet, and hands. While this is unlikely to happen unless you’re very malnourished, it’s good to keep it in mind just in case.

Signs of Protein Deficiency to Not Ignore: Weakened Muscle And Bone Strength
Did you know that not consuming a sufficient amount of proteins can significantly impact the muscles that are responsible for movement and posture? Weakened muscle and bone strength is a condition that is typically age-related, as it tends to be disproportionately worse among individuals above 55 years of age. Our muscle tissues are mostly made up of amino acids; being protein deficient means that the body may resort to using stored muscle lean mass. This usually leads to muscle loss and can result in increased weakness of the body, muscle tears, and muscle atrophies. Since protein helps make up the structure of all cells, it’s not surprising that insufficient protein intake has also been linked to lower bone mineral density, increased risk of fractures, weakened joins, and decreased bone strength.

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