Our bodies need proteins to perform! These critical molecules contribute to an astounding variety of bodily functions, from building and repairing tissue, to generating enzymes and hormones, to growing bone, muscle, and cartilage. As such, when our bodies fail to get the protein they need, the side effects can be diverse and dire. Today, we’ll look at some of the symptoms of protein deficiency and discuss some tools to ensure you’re getting enough protein, including vegan protein supplements.
Every cell, tissue, and organ in the human body contains proteins, which help build and maintain muscles; produce new cells and replace old ones; regulate hormone and enzyme production; and heal wounds and battle infections. When your protein levels decline beyond a healthy point, there can be far-reaching effects, such as:
Muscle and weight loss: Protein is essential to the proper growth and maintenance of muscle. Without it, you may experience soreness, weakness, cramping, and decreased lean body mass. If you’re interested in building muscle or simply maintaining your weight, proper protein consumption is an absolute must.
Weight gain: While protein deficiency can cause weight loss in some situations, it can just as easily prevent you from losing weight in others. Recent research appearing in the journal Nutrition Metabolism found that dieters who boosted their protein intake to 30 per cent of their total daily calories ate almost 450 fewer calories per day and lost an average of 11 pounds over three months.
“High-protein foods take more work to digest, metabolize, and use, which means you burn more calories processing them,” according to Women’s Health. “They also take longer to leave your stomach, so you feel full sooner and for a longer amount of time.”
Changes to hair, nails, and skin: Because protein enables cell regeneration, protein deficiency can wreak havoc on your skin, fingernails, and hair. Protein deficient people may experience cracked, flaked, or dry skin; rashes; a susceptibility to sunburns; slow-healing ulcers and abrasions; and dry, sparse hair that changes color or texture.
Infection risk: Protein is also critical to the immune system. Protein deficiency can cause a lack of white blood cells which limits your body’s ability to fight bacteria and viruses.
Other symptoms: The symptoms of protein deficiency are incredibly diverse, including lethargy, irritability, and apathy; nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain; and weakness, fainting, insomnia, and an inability to stay warm.
If you live in a first-world nation, protein deficiency can be easily fixed. We in North America are lucky to have access to a wide range of protein-rich foods and alternative sources, such as vegan protein supplements.
There is no golden rule for how much protein you should consume: some sources recommend 46 grams per day for adult women and 56 grams per day for adult men; others recommend eating a minimum of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. Experiment to determine what amount best suits your fitness goals.
Proteins are found in abundance in meats, dairy, eggs, and fish, and can also be found in beans, seeds, and some vegetables. Many fitness-minded individuals also turn to vegan protein supplements for their daily fix.
However you choose to consume your protein, know that you’re doing the right thing for your health: proteins are instrumental to the smooth function of our body, and should be consumed regularly. Paleoethics products like our natural and vegan protein supplements can help you maintain your optimal protein levels and reach your fitness goals.