Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Not only does it help our bodies recover from wounds and injuries, it also boosts energy and keeps us feeling full. But for those following a plant-based or vegetarian diet, sometimes extra effort can be required to make sure your body is getting enough of this vital nutrient.
- Depression or Low Mood- Protein is broken down into amino acids which are then used to make alot of vital substances like neurotransmitters. These natural chemicals are very vital for our brain and nervous system and some also have a direct effect on our mood. If you don't get enough protein, your production of serotonin may be reduced, contributing massively to your low mood.
- An Injury that takes longer than expected to heal- When your body tries to heal a wound, it creates stress hormones and diverts extra resources including carbohydrates, fats and proteins to create new tissue. If this takes longer than expected, your body compensates by sending additional protein to deal with the wound and in the process deprives other organs of the vital nutrient leaving the body protein-deficient.
- Swollen Ankles- This is a sign of Protein deficiency. Swollen ankle or oedema; this happens because proteins in our blood are responsible for keeping enough fluid in the blood vessels efficiently. Instead it stays in the tissues causing swelling especially in the lower legs, ankles and feet. This is why it is very essential to keep your protein intake up to avoid illnesses like this.
- Hair Loss- When you notice more hair coming out when you shower or your hair starts to get thin, or most likely all over the head rather than in patches or hairline, it is most likely you are low in Protein. Our hair is made up primarily of Protein especially protein called Keratin. And hair is also the least important protein structure in the body so when protein intake is low, it is allocated instead to more important factors such as keeping our immune system active. This is why Hair Loss may be one of the signs of low protein intake.
- Weak Immune System- Protein is used to keep the physical barriers in our body such as the skin and the mucous membranes intact in order to keep germs out. If you do notice that you are coming down with a cold or seem susceptible to infections, low protein could be the cause.