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Protein Deficiency and Lack of Optimum Protein
An adequate intake of protein foods (preferably one-gram of protein content for every two pounds of body weight) is essential for human growth, development and general good health. Protein deficiency is common in many Third World countries and is primarily responsible a high incidence of starvation and disease. Unfortunately, the majority of victims are young children.
Though rare, deficiencies caused by not getting the best protein sources can also happen in more developed countries. The main victims from lack of high protein content are the poor, particularly senior citizens on limited income, people with a lack of nutritional knowledge, people on severely restrictive diets and vegetarians who fail to eat a well balanced diet.
The good news is if you're not getting enough of the complete high protein foods necessary for your body to run smoothly, there are signals to let you know youíre in trouble. However, in an inadequate diet, the body uses the best protein sources for bones and tissues, so deficiency signals often take a long time to appear. So, if youíre in one of the above risk groups, itís important to you pay attention to the warning signs that you need more high protein foods.
Two of the earliest signs that you need more protein content are brittle nails and hair problems, such as splitting ends and hair loss. Other early warning signs include lack of energy, extreme fatigue and oversleeping. Flabby muscles are another early symptom of protein deficiency.
Although there are many causes of constipation, including lack of fiber and insufficient water intake, irregularity is a common sign of protein deficiency from lack of high protein foods. Therefore, pay attention if you are dealing more frequently with bouts of constipation.
Low blood pressure and a slow heartbeat are later signs of deficiency from not getting enough protein foods, but since they can also affect your health in so many other ways, itís wise to keep track of these symptoms on a regular basis.
Other warning signs of protein deficiency include edema (excess fluid in legs, feet and ankles), unexplained weight loss, ridges in finger and toe nails, skin problems and slow healing of wounds. Moodiness, crankiness, anxiety and severe depression are also symptoms.
If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, make changes in your diet as soon as possible. Lean meat, fish, poultry, dairy and eggs are all excellent sources of complete high protein. Many plant-based foods are also good but incomplete sources of protein. These include whole grain breads and cereals, beans, peas, nuts, seeds and soy tofu. In order to obtain a complete protein profile, vegetarians must be sure to eat a wide variety of plant foods every day.
If symptoms fail to disappear after eating more protein on a regular basis, see your primary physician. A simple blood test can determine if youíre suffering from a protein deficiency or not. Just be clear that protein deficiency can result in serious illness, including arthritis, muscle failure, heart problems, organ failure and death.
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Note: The information contained on this website is not intended to be prescriptive. Any attempt to diagnose or treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician who is familiar with nutritional therapy.
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