How to spot signs of protein deficiency

Updated February 21, 2017

Protein is the leading factor in physical growth as well regulation and maintenance of hair, muscles, tendons, skin and eyes. Protein deficiency is a common concern, particularly among vegetarians, dieters and body builders. If you feel that your diet is lacking in protein, it is important to know the warning signs of deficiency.

Keep an eye on your hair and nails. Signs of protein deficiency often take a long time to become apparent as the body uses protein stored in the tissues if the diet is inadequate. Splitting and/or falling hair and brittle nails are among the first symptoms.

Pay attention to your energy levels, as extreme fatigue, sleeping too much and generally feeling heavy and tired are all signs that you may need to boost your levels of protein.

Ask yourself if you are taking more measures recently to combat bouts of constipation. While there are a number of reasons that you may feel constipated, irregularity is one of the signs of protein deficiency.

Watch your muscles' growth, or lack thereof. If the body does not have a sufficient supply of protein, it cannot properly build and maintain muscle tissue. Additionally, protein is stored in the muscles and will be used by the body in case of deficiency. If your muscles appear more flabby than normal, you may need to get more protein in your diet.

Check your heart rate regularly, seeking medical attention if it falls below 60 beats per minute. While low blood pressure is one of the later signs of protein deficiency, it is an important one which can affect your health in a number of ways.

Be careful to not allow a protein deficiency to become severe, as the effects become even more drastic. In extreme cases of protein deficiency, growth may be halted, particularly in children and can cause drastic fluid retention, mental disorders and skin rashes.

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