Spot The Signs Of Protein Deficiency
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Protein is the building block of the body tissue and can be found all throughout our body - in our muscles, skin, hair, and even our bones1. Protein is responsible for the formation of hormones and enzymes that boost chemical reactions in the body2 and it also helps in forming hemoglobin that carries oxygen in our blood.
Several kinds of proteins together make us what we are and are crucial for our health3. Did you know for every 1 kg of body weight, you need 1g protein daily*?
*With 200ml of cow/buffalo milk. Horlicks Protein Plus is a nourishing beverage to be consumed as a part of a daily diet. Blend of 3 High Quality Proteins (Whey, Soy, Casein). ^ICMR RDAs 2010 for protein (sedentary adult men).
Protein Deficiency In Indians
Despite the increased awareness about the importance of protein in our diets and dedicated efforts to boost the protein content in our body, 9 in 10 Indians are at risk of developing Protein deficiency4. Protein is one of the most misunderstood nutrients in our country with most Indians being unaware of their body's ideal protein needs4. Additionally, most people are unaware of the effects of a protein deficiency.
Protein deficiency can manifest in several ways. You can check yourself for the following symptoms caused by protein deficiency and if in case you are facing any of these, take steps to increase your protein intake immediately:
Feeling Tired And Fatigued?
Constant fatigue is one of the biggest symptoms of protein deficiency. Tiredness and fatigue can be an outcome of poor muscle health and after the age of 30, most adults begin to experience muscle loss5. If you feel tired all the time even after eating healthy food and exercising regularly, chances are your body might be asking for more protein. Anxiety and mood swings are also symptoms of a possible protein deficiency. Erratic sleeping patterns, insomnia and constantly feeling run-down can be pointing at the lack of essential amino acids that your body needs in order to function normally.
Experiencing edema and swelling?
Protein is responsible for the regulation of fluid and electrolyte balance in our body. If you are not getting enough protein from your diet, it can result in an imbalance, causing fluid to accumulate in the tissues and cavities of the body. Edema and swelling caused by excess fluid usually occurs in the abdomen, hands, arms, ankles, legs and feet6.
Noticing changes in skin and nails?
Your skin, hair and nails are made up of a protein called keratin. When your diet lacks in protein, you can see significant changes in your skin and nails. Protein helps in cell regeneration and produces new cells that replace the dead ones. With a severe protein deficiency, your skin can become dry, flaky and more prone to sun damage and pigmentation. Since protein also aids nail formation, a deficiency can result in brittle nails with deep ridges and brownish spots or white bands.
Facing extreme hair fall?
If your hair is feeling dry and you are suffering from extreme hair loss, it can be a sign of low protein intake. Since hair contains 90% protein, a deficiency can result in hair thinning and hair loss.
How much protein do you need?
The amount of protein required by your body depends upon a number of factors such as level of activity, muscle mass, age and overall health. But generally:
- Men below 70 years with an average body weight of 60kg9 need about 60g of protein per day.
- Women who are around 55kg will need 55g of protein on a daily basis.
- Pregnant women need about 23g extra protein and while lactating mothers need nearly 15-18g extra.
- Children need around 15-30g protein per day (1.6g/kg/d).
- Senior citizens10 can benefit by increasing their protein intake by 20 grams per day to maintain lean body mass and preserve body functions
How to boost protein intake?
Consuming sufficient amounts of protein and maintaining a balanced diet is crucial for a healthy body. Animal-based sources of protein like meat and eggs contain various essential amino acids required by our body. Whereas plant-based sources of protein like fruits and vegetables, pulses and legumes, nuts and seeds may lack some essential amino acids required in our body. It is important to add a variety of proteins to our diet so that our body’s requirements of healthy fats, all essential amino acids, beneficial fiber and less cholesterol is sufficiently met8.
Whether you're a young adult, a person in their 40s or a senior citizen, a great way to increase your protein intake is to opt for a nourishing and protein rich drink such as the Horlicks Protein Plus*. Its Triple blend formula with whey, soy and casein protein provides all the essential amino acids and gives you the much-needed boost of protein for your body. Horlicks Protein Plus provides 16g good quality protein per serving when consumed with buffalo/cow's whole milk (200ml) which is important to support muscle protein synthesis.
*Horlicks Protein Plus is a nourishing beverage to be consumed as a part of a healthy and varied diet.
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