Introduction

Protein plays an essential role in human tissue building muscles, skin, hormones, and enzymes. Almost all food items contain protein, and therefore protein deficiency is a very rarely occurring condition. Proteins are essential because they bring oxygen and iron to the muscles and help them recover faster. Higher amounts of protein in the diet will help to keep the body fresh for more extended periods. Some people, however, develop a protein deficiency disorder which eventually leads to various health issues. A low protein intake causes subtle changes in the body, which will lead to a significant health issue over time.

Meaning

Protein deficiency disease takes place when the food you eat is unable to meet the body’s requirements. Approximately one billion or more people suffer from low protein intake globally. More cases are recorded in South Asia and the Central part of Africa, and kids are the ones who are highly affected. People who do not follow a balanced diet are at higher risk.

A deficiency disease for protein affects all body functions, it is associated with various symptoms. Low levels of protein intake will cause a change in the composition of the body. This eventually will lead to a severe problem after a certain period. Kwashiorkor is the most common and form of protein deficiency disease. According to reports, it is primarily recorded in countries facing famines and not a balanced diet.

Symptoms

Though protein deficiency disease does not reflect or prevail as a health condition in the human system reveals itself through various symptoms. The most common protein deficiency disease symptoms are elaborated on below in detail.

Appetite Changes

Poor appetite is a significant symptom of protein deficiency disease. But sometimes, even vice versa will happen. Inadequate levels of protein will increase your appetite and tempt you to consume more. This increases the calories and results in body weight gain or obesity.

Decreased Immunity

A deficiency disease for protein will take the immune system a toll. It increases infections and makes the body easily prone to various diseases. Reports state that even a marginally low protein level will impair the functioning of the immune system and its response to cause these signs of protein deficiency.

Kids Growth

Lack of protein leads to stunted growth in children and is a prominent symptom of kwashiorkor. This is a sign of malnutrition, and studies state that low protein intake is associated with impaired growth and, at times, delay in various body developments.

Bone Health

When the protein intake becomes, less the bones are also at high risk. This disease caused by deficiency of protein will weaken the bone and increase the risk of fracture. Hip fractures are common in postmenopausal women with low protein levels. 20 grams of protein every day was seen to help them prevent their bone health extensively.

Loss Of Muscle Mass

The muscles are the body's largest reservoir of protein. When the body runs short of protein, the muscles start reducing. These signs of protein deficiency occur in all age groups, but the condition recovers with protein intake.

Skin, Nail, And Hair Problems

Protein deficiency often has an impact on the hair, nails, and skin as they are largely made of protein. The protein deficiency disease symptoms include

  • flakiness, red patches, depigmentation on the skin
  • thinning, colour, and loss of hair
  • brittle nails

Fatty Liver

Fatty liver is another common symptom of protein deficiency disorder. It accumulates fat in the liver cells and, when left untreated, will potentially lead to liver failure. It mainly occurs in obese people and in populations that consume a lot of alcohol.

Edema

Edema is a swollen and puffy skin condition that is a disease caused by a deficiency of protein. It is caused by low quantities of albumin, the most abundant protein in the blood. The swelling in the skin happens because lack of protein level leads to lower oncotic pressure, resulting in the fluid accumulating in the tissues. In rare circumstances, a protein deficiency disease will also lead to fluid build-up in the abdomen, which results in a bloated belly.


Causes

There are numerous reasons why a human system may develop a protein deficiency disease. They are:

  • The body does not get enough protein if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. It is very commonly seen in developing countries when people do not get sufficient amounts to eat.
  • The liver creates a protein called albumin, which comprises 60% of the total protein in the blood. Therefore, when the liver gets damaged, it brings down the body's protein levels, causing a protein deficiency condition.
  • The kidney is responsible for filtering waste from the blood, and so when it gets damaged, even the protein from the blood leaks out through urine. This again causes protein deficiency.

Treatments

You can treat protein deficiency disease by increasing the amount of protein in the diet. The foods that are good protein sources are red meat, tofu, poultry, fish, nuts, eggs, and dairy foods like both yogurt and milk. Kids with kwashiorkor are treated with ready-to-use therapeutic foods like milk powder, sugar, peanut butter, vitamins or mineral supplements and vegetable oil.

Furthermore, take a protein deficiency test and suppose the protein amounts do not improve with a natural food diet, physicians will recommend medications. It can be antibiotics or antiparasitic drugs for infections, steroids for intestinal inflammations, medications for liver damage, dialysis to treat kidney diseases and a gluten-free diet for celiac diseases. Finally, if the problem is not resolved with the food you eat, a doctor will treat poor absorption conditions with the results of the protein deficiency test. Make use of an online doctor consultation if you want to save on time and energy. Many sites organize lab tests at home to make it easy for the patients.

Conclusion

Keep in mind that not everyone requires the same amount of protein. Bodyweight, physical activity, age and muscle mass affect the protein levels necessary for an individual. The recommended daily dosage is 0.4 grams of protein for every pound you weigh. But athletes require 0.5 - 0.6 grams of protein for each pound they weigh. Sometimes people involved in an active lifestyle or more physical activity also need the same levels of protein intake. Make sure that you do not compromise on the protein levels to have a healthy life. Most importantly, for a slim and toned body, it is essential to eat protein every day. Make it happen!

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Posted 
December 30, 2021
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