Amino Acid Imbalance Symptoms: 8 Signs You Are Not Getting Enough Protein

If you’re not consuming enough protein you’ll experience amino acid imbalance symptoms. It’s critical to know the signs you should consume enough protein. They include loss of muscle mass, skin/hair/nail issues, and fatty liver.

girl with amino acid imbalance

Are you consuming enough protein? Most adults need 0.0g of protein per kilogram of body weight. If you’re not consuming enough protein it will produce various signs including amino acid imbalance symptoms. Besides a protein deficiency, you could also experience a lack of certain amino acids. This includes the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) that humans must get from food. It’s critical not only to get all the EAAs but also enough of them. For example, if you consume an “incomplete protein” you’re not getting the full amount of all EAAs you need. However, you could combine 2+ incomplete proteins to turn them into a complete protein.

There are various signs of lack of protein. They include loss of muscle mass, skin/hair/nail problems, and fatty liver. It’s important to know these signs so you can deal with them effectively. The average American consumes 2x the daily recommended daily protein. Besides the amount of protein you consume there are other issues. They include the protein quality and the amount of EAAs you’re getting. A related issue to take up is the other macronutrients are also important for good health: carbs and fat. It’s critical to make sure you’re getting enough of all macro-nutrients.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

The three macronutrients are carbs, protein, and fat. The amount that you consume of each is based on various factors. For example, the Keto diet includes a “macro split” of 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% fat. However, this is an extreme diet that generally only be followed for one or two months.

The word “protein” is from the Greek word that means “first.” This explains the importance of protein for human nutrition. It’s critical for several body parts like enzymes, skin, hair, muscles, and bones.

The amount of protein most adults need is 0.8g per kilogram of body weight. However, many athletes/bodybuilders add extra protein to their diets to bulk up. This is possible if you get enough of all 20 amino acids.  

It’s worth noting that the recommended daily allowance (RDA) is how much your body needs to prevent from getting ill. This helps to meet your daily requirements. This is different from a particular amount of protein you need to consume daily.

In order to calculate that figure multiply your body weight (pounds) by 0.36. The actual amount of protein you’ll need daily differs based on factors like your age, gender, and weight.

The issue of RDA is still causing some confusion. That includes among the public and the industry’s professionals. This in part explains why protein intake is much higher than the RDA in some countries. A common belief is that people consume too much of the macro-nutrient.

For example, the RDA supplies as low as 10% of the total calories from the nutrient. However, the average American’s intake of protein is 16% of daily calories from animal/plant sources.

Some experts even argue that this figure is lower than it should be. A good approach is to build every meal around protein. This helps to provide enough of it and spaces it out throughout the entire day.

Amino Acid Imbalance Symptoms

1. Fatty Liver

This is the buildup of fat in liver cells. If this condition becomes worse it can become fatty liver disease. Within time this can develop into liver cirrhosis, which involves liver scarring.

2. Bigger Appetite

In mild cases of protein deficiency, this can result in a larger appetite. The body has a bigger appetite due to lower protein intake. This can result in issues like spikes in carbs.

3. Higher Risk of Bone Breaks

If you have less protein you’ll also have a greater risk of bone fractures. The muscles aren’t the body’s only tissues that are affected by lower protein intake. It can also weaken your bones.

4. Muscle Loss

You can also experience loss of muscle mass due to protein deficiency. This is logical since the macro-nutrient is important for building muscle mass. When you lose muscle mass it has the opposite effect.

5. Infection Severity

Not consuming enough protein can also affect how serious infections are. This is due to the effect on a person’s immune system. This can involve how serious infections are. So it’s important to consume enough protein.

6. Edema

This is a skin condition whose symptoms include swollen/puffy skin. Experts believe this condition results from a blood protein. It helps to prevent extra fluid from building up in body parts like tissues. Low levels of amino acids can result in fluid buildup and swelling.

7. Stunted Growth

Lack of protein can also affect children’s growth. It can affect bone/muscle mass and body growth. The effect is greater on kids who need a constant supply of protein for growth. It’s the most frequent sign of child malnutrition.

8. Skin/Hair/Nail Issues

Lack of protein can affect a person’s hair, skin, and nails. These all contain big amounts of protein including collagen, keratin, and elastin. This can cause different kinds of symptoms like flaky or red skin.

How to Boost Protein Intake

Boosting protein intake is a basic step you can take at your meals. When you eat protein first it boosts a gut hormone that makes a person feel fuller/satisfied. This step also lowers the body’s “hunger hormone” levels. Another benefit of eating protein first is it boosts metabolism after meals and when sleeping to deal with amino acid imbalance symptoms.

1. Top food with chopped almonds

Almonds like other tree nuts are high-protein. You also get other nutrients like unsaturated fat, fiber, and magnesium. Almonds are also low in net carbs after you subtract the fiber. This helps to make them Keto-friendly.

2. Eat eggs instead of refined grains

Many traditional breakfast foods are high-carb, low-protein. They include breakfast cereals, toast, bagels, waffles, and pancakes. For example, 1 cup of oatmeal only has around 6g of protein.

Meanwhile, 3 large eggs deliver nearly 20g of protein. You also get several other nutrients like selenium. If you’re going to add grains make sure they’re whole grains.

3. Add protein to salads

This includes options like chicken/turkey breast, tuna/salmon, or cheese. These items add taste and texture to regular veggie salads.

4. Eat cheese as a snack

This is a good way to add protein to your daily diet. Cheese is much higher in protein than many snack foods like corn/potato chips, crackers, and pretzels. Meanwhile, one serving of cheddar cheese has 7g of protein. You also get fewer calories and more calcium versus many other options.

Cheese also provides other benefits. It might improve heart health and only increase cholesterol levels a little.

5. Go with Greek yogurt

This variety provides up to 20g of protein per serving. This is about 2x higher than regular yogurt. It’s made by removing liquids like whey. This is what gives Greek yogurt a thicker texture. It also helps to release gut hormones to reduce hunger.

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