It is well known that protein plays a vital role in the functioning of our bodies. And if you have a deficiency of protein, your body will suffer. A study says around 1 billion people worldwide are protein deficient. Especially in Central Africa and South Asia: up to 30% of children get too little protein.

How do you know if you have a protein deficiency? Here at Bright Side, we’ve learned about the signs and symptoms related to protein deficiency so that you’ll know when there’s a problem.

8. Food cravings

If you always feel hungry and have cravings for food and snacks, it may be because of a low protein, high-carb and sugar diet. The problem could be that you have unlimited access to high-calorie food in which the amount of protein is low in comparison to its calorie count.

7. Loss of muscle mass and joint pain

Muscles are the body’s largest reservoir of protein. Muscle weakness, pain, and loss of mass is a sign of a protein deficiency. A study says this is commonly found in elderly people. Protein is essential for muscle growth and maintenance.

6. Skin and nail problems

A protein deficiency can result in making your nails weak, brittle and in few cases, you will observe white bands and brownish spots on the nails.

A protein deficiency can affect the skin as well, as protein enables cell regeneration, produces new cells, and replaces dead ones. If this happens, you will notice your skin feeling dry, flaky and cracked.

5. Hair loss

Our hair is made up of 90% protein known as keratin. If you don’t get enough nutrients, your hair may thin and fade in color. This happens because the body stops using protein for non-essential things like hair growth in an effort to preserve it.

4. Fatty liver

Fatty liver is one of the most common symptoms of a protein deficiency and if left untreated, can cause fatty liver disease, causing inflammation, liver scarring, and potential liver failure.

This is a common condition in those who consume a lot of alcohol, obese people, and even kids.

3. Increased risk of bone fractures

Just like muscles, a low intake of protein can affect the bones as well. Not having enough protein leads to weakening of the bones, thus increasing the risk of bone fractures. This is mostly because “Protein is needed for calcium absorption and helping with bone metabolism,” says Dr.Axe.

2. Sleep deprivation

If you have trouble sleeping or suffer from sleep deprivation, it is likely linked to a protein deficiency. Proteins from the food we eat act as building blocks for tryptophan, an amino acid that causes drowsiness. It indicates that we must eat protein-rich food near bedtime to get better sleep.

1. Brain fog

It is very important to get a proper intake of protein to support healthy brain function. If you experience lack of motivation, poor memory or trouble with learning anything new, it’s a sign that you are protein deficient. A study says that dopamine, epinephrine, and serotonin are neurotransmitters that your body needs in order to focus.

According to the USDA, the recommended minimum daily intake of protein for adults is 56 g per day for men, 46 g per day for women – and for kids, it varies from 19 g to 34 g depending on their age. This may vary if you are pregnant or ill.

Don’t forget to get your recommended amount of protein today because Bright Side wants you to stay happy and healthy always! Please share your opinions in the comments below.