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Signs of Protein Deficiency & Obtaining the Right Amount

Authored by: Martin Johnson, DHM, Owner and Natural Health Consultant

Many People Are Protein Deficient Without Realizing It

Many people know that protein is essential for optimum health, but most assume they are consuming enough from food. It is true, you do get good quality protein from foods such as eggs, meat, fish, and nuts. However, much of the protein in food is not converted into body protein—it just makes waste that the body has to get rid of plus extra calories. Many people are protein deficient without realizing it—this plays out as a nagging injury that won’t heal, or brittle bones, nails, and hair in the menopausal women or elderly, or constant colds in the child. Low level protein deficiency often gets overlooked by medical doctors. It can often be problematic to one’s health long before signs of it will show up on blood work.

Blood markers that would be looked at for sufficient protein levels are total protein, albumin, and albumin/globulin (A/G) ratio. Albumin and globulin are two proteins that are made in the liver.


How Digestion Plays a Role

Much of the digestive issues I observe, that can lead to poor protein utilization ends up being related to low hydrochloric acid levels (HCL) production. Not getting enough protein may mean low hormones, or a low immune system, and a greater risk of disease or less efficient organ function. A big factor that can lead to these deficiencies is reduced digestion capability. Your digestive system can become less efficient due to exposure to toxins from processed food supplies, stress, aging, and antacid use. Even if you are getting sufficient high-quality proteins you can only use what your digestive system will break down. I like to say, it’s not, “you are what you eat,” like the old saying goes, but, “you are what you digest.”

Even if your digestive system is working well, I want to give you an example of how much protein you actually absorb for tissue growth and repair for some common foods.

Egg Protein - 48% - leaving 52% nitrogen waste stored as calories

Meat, Poultry, Fish - 32% - leaving 68% nitrogen waste stored as calories

Whey & Soy Protein, Nuts & Seeds -18% - leaving 84% nitrogen waste stored as calories


Complete vs. Incomplete Proteins

When it comes to dietary intake of protein-containing foods it is important to eat sources that contain all 9 of the essential amino acids. If it doesn’t it is considered an incomplete protein. Complete proteins with all of the amino acids include eggs, poultry, beef, fish and dairy. Quinoa and soy are complete plant-based proteins. Although, I don’t recommend soy due to its estrogenic effect in the body. Other protein sources such as nuts and seeds, and the better ones being almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, flax seeds, sesame seeds, and chia seeds, are lower in protein content by weight and higher in calories and are not complete. Beans, lentils, and split peas are also incomplete. But, the highest protein-containing are black lentils, split peas, navy beans, chickpeas, black beans, and kidney beans.


General Rule for Protein Intake

A good general rule for protein intake is if you're physically active getting ½ your body weight in grams of complete protein is a good mark to shoot for. For a sedentary person you can figure .40 grams per pound of body weight. So a person weighing 150lbs would calculate: 0.40 X 150 = 60 grams of protein.


The Importance of Essential Amino Acids

Essential amino acids needed from protein sources are the fundamental building blocks necessary for practically every system within the body. If you are deficient in even one of these amino acids, your body simply cannot make them.

In the 30 years of working with people in clinical nutrition, I have observed when people get the correct levels of these essential amino acids. Their excessive craving for food settles down, blood sugar balances better, hair skin and nail health improves, muscle tone and flabbiness improves, and energy goes up.


We Can Help!

Because of these challenges people face in getting sufficient protein utilization, our clinical team has searched extensively to find techniques and specialized products to balance the digestive system and feed the body the nutrients each individual system is looking for. Every person’s body system can come with unique challenges, therefore we find the answer to balancing body chemistry is specific to each person. 

Give us a call 262-251-2929 to schedule a no-charge 10-minute phone consult with a natural health practitioner, to see how we can help!

You can also learn more at one of our Free Seminars!

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