Protein deficiency can be a nightmare for serious bodybuilders. A few of them might even wake up in a cold sweat if they dream of falling short of their protein requirements. This is justifiable since protein is the main building block of our muscles.
You can’t expect to gain muscle mass if you’re not meeting your daily protein requirements. While it might be really intimidating to calculate your macros and chart out your protein intake, there’s no way around it.
Consuming protein isn’t just for bodybuilders. If you’re doing any kind of work that requires your physical involvement and works your muscles, you need protein to help with muscle repair. Even newborns need protein to help with their body development.
There might come a point when you’re working out really hard but can see no major changes in your body. Bro scientists in your gym might tell you this is because of protein deficiency. Before you believe them, here are six ways to know if you’re suffering from protein deficiency:
1. Weak Immunity
Do you find yourself falling ill regularly? Our bodies immune cells are made up of protein and rely on protein to function properly. Of the many functions of protein in our body, one of its most critical is supporting our immune system.
The immune response protects you against harmful microorganisms, including viruses, bacteria, and foreign substances which might attack your defenses. Some of the proteins involved in immunity lie in wait until they are called on, while others are synthesized on the spot as the need arises.
2. Irregular Menstrual Cycles
One of the most common reasons women suffer from irregular periods and infertility is the condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Two major risk factors for PCOS are obesity and pre-diabetes or diabetes — in fact, insulin resistance affects 50–70 percent of all women with PCOS.
Low-protein, high-sugar/high-carb diets can contribute to insulin resistance, fatigue, inflammation and weight gain that disrupts the delicate balance of female hormones (including that of estrogen, progesterone, and DHEA) needed to sustain a regular cycle.
3. Delayed Muscle Recovery
Protein is made up of amino acids which help in the recovery of muscle after workouts. If you’re deficient in protein, your body will take longer to repair as compared to someone who is taking adequate protein in his diet.
Protein is also helpful in rebuilding the torn tissues which occur as a normal part of resistance exercise. However, this process cannot occur effectively without sufficient high-quality protein in your diet to provide the amino acids required for the synthesis of muscle protein to repair your damaged tissues.
4. Hair, Skin, and Nail Troubles
Ridges that run from top to bottom on the nail can indicate an ongoing protein deficiency, while a ridge that runs transversely may indicate a deficiency that has now passed. Skin that loses pigment and burns more easily in the sun can be caused by a lack of iron, as well as protein.
5. Brain Fog
Suffering from brain fog is basically the opposite of feeling level-headed, calm, optimistic and motivated. Brain fog can easily rob you of inspiration and happiness while increasing the likelihood symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Protein is needed to support many aspects of healthy neurological functioning. Foggy brain, short bursts of mental energy, followed by the fog may be related to fluctuating blood sugar and lack of protein.
6. Hit a Plateau
The bro scientists might be correct after all. A lack of protein in your diet can cause you to hit a plateau. If the lack of protein in your diet is persistent, you’ll end up losing muscle and with it, your hard earned strength.
Protein is also important for sustaining your energy and motivation. A low protein diet can result in muscle wasting (or muscle atrophy), fatigue and even fat gain. In fact, you can workout more but see fewer results if your diet isn’t adequate to support tissue repair or your energy needs.