Protein is the material of which tissues and organs of the body are built. It is the main component of muscles, the heart, and the skin, among other organs. It is for this reason that protein deficiency can have serious adverse effects.
Protein deficiency occurs when your protein intake is below your body’s requirements. Kwashiorkor is the most common sign of protein deficiency and is most common in children in developing countries because of their unbalanced diets.
Protein deficiency is a common problem that affects nearly one billion people around the world. This is the reason why it is important to know the most common protein deficiency symptoms. Below are the top 10 protein deficiency symptoms to be aware of.
Symptom #1: Loss of Muscle Mass
Muscles contain the highest amount of protein in the whole body. When the protein intake decreases, the body uses it as reserves in the skeletal muscles for use when necessary. This is why long-term protein deficiency leads to loss of muscle mass.
In adults, severe protein deficiency leads to muscle wasting, while in the elderly and the very young, moderate protein deficiency leads to serious muscle wasting. One study found that the lower the amount of protein taken by the elderly, the greater the loss of muscle mass. Also, there are studies suggesting that increased protein intake slows down the process of aging and muscle degeneration.