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What are some symptoms of a lack of protein?

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Common symptoms of protein deficiency include hair loss, brittle nails, fatigue, weight loss, reduced blood pressure, diarrhea, slow wound healing, muscle weakness, constipation, apathy and excessive sleeping. Symptoms of severe protein deficiency may include skin rashes, mental problems, fluid retention and growth problems in children, according to Right Diagnosis from Healthgrades.

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Other signs of a lack of protein in the diet include impaired immune system functioning, frequent infections, scaly skin, reduced hair pigmentation, hair splitting and the development of a full, moon-shaped face, notes Right Diagnosis.

As adequate protein is needed to maintain steady blood sugar levels, diets lacking in protein often lead to fluctuating glucose levels, which in turn cause a person to crave sweets, explains Women's Health magazine. Additionally, unstable glucose levels can also impair mental functioning, making a person's brain feel foggy.

Sufficient protein is critical for overall health, and the amount of protein a person needs changes with age, states WebMD. Babies require approximately 10 grams of protein per day, children require 19 to 34 grams of protein per day, teenage boys require 52 grams of protein per day, and teenage girls require 46 grams of protein per day. Adult men require 56 grams of protein per day, adult women require 46 grams of protein per day, and pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding require 71 grams of protein per day.

Eating the right protein can improve health and encourage weight loss. The healthiest high-protein foods are fish, seafood, chicken breast, lean beef, skim milk, low-fat yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, eggs, lean pork and beans, according to WebMD.

Learn more about Nutritional Amounts & Limits

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