Protein deficiency

What is a protein deficiency?

Proteins have vital functions in the body. They are needed to build tissue, especially muscles. However, they also occur in a certain concentration in the blood.

Here they transport important substances to their destination and bind the fluid in the vascular system. They are involved in blood clotting and perform important metabolic tasks. The immune system also needs protein to defend itself against pathogens.

A protein deficiency therefore has serious consequences for the body. A protein deficiency can be measured by determining the total protein concentration in the blood. This should be between 64 and 83 g/l, depending on the laboratory. If it is below these values, a protein deficiency exists.

Causes of a protein deficiency

The causes for a protein deficiency can be numerous. Diseases of the kidney (e.g. nephrotic syndrome) result in increased protein loss through the kidney. The body cannot always compensate for this and a protein deficiency occurs.

A reduced protein intake through diet can also lead to a protein deficiency. This is the case both during longer involuntary periods of hunger and in diseases such as anorexia. In addition, there are other diseases that lead to protein deficiency.

Due to a weakness of the pancreas, it no longer produces enough enzymes which are responsible for splitting the large protein molecules in the intestine into their components (amino acids). Only in this way can the amino acids be absorbed through the intestinal mucosa. A protein deficiency can also occur if the liver is not able to synthesize (due to liver cirrhosis), since new protein molecules are normally formed from the amino acids that are taken in with food. In the context of a tumor disease there is always an increased protein consumption. If this cannot be covered sufficiently, a protein deficiency occurs.

What is the daily protein requirement?

The protein requirement per day is very different. It depends on the physical activity, the physique and the protein consumption. Nursing and pregnant women have a higher protein requirement.

People with serious chronic diseases such as tumours, liver and kidney failure also have a different protein requirement. This also applies to sportsmen and women who want to build up muscles in a targeted manner. In principle, however, one can follow the recommendations of the German Society for Nutrition (DGE).

This recommends eating 0.8g protein per kilogram of body weight. This is the same for men and women. A 65kg woman should therefore eat at least 50 grams of protein per day.

For a man weighing 85kg, the protein requirement is about 70 grams per day. In phases of increased protein requirement, the protein intake can be adjusted accordingly. However, an upper limit of 2g protein per kilogram of body weight should not be exceeded.

Only infants and toddlers who are growing have a higher protein requirement of up to 3g protein per kilogram of body weight. If you want to build muscle, the protein requirement per day is logically higher. The recommendation of the German Society for Nutrition with 0.8g per day per kilogram of body weight explicitly does not apply to strength athletes.

Their protein requirement is higher. It is probably between 1.3 and 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight. It is important that a protein intake of 2 grams per kilogram of body weight is not exceeded. This is the absolute upper limit of the daily protein intake. This could also be interesting for you: Protein powder for muscle building