What are the problems caused by deficiency of protein?

The ICMR has recommended 1.0gm of protein per kilogram of body weight for healthy adult, but this varies with different growth period and physiological stages. Additional 15gms of protein are required daily for percentage women in the second half of pregnancy. During lactation additional 18-25gms of protein are required daily.

Deficiency of protein leads to following:

1. Shortage of protein leads to retardation of growth and in extreme cases failure of growth. This is manifested as marasmus and kwashiorkor among infants and children.

2. Protein deficiency affects the intestinal mucosa and the gland that secret digestive enzymes. This results in the failure to digest and absorb the food, consequently leading to diarrhea and loss of fluid and electrolyte.

3. The normal structure and function of liver is disturbed leading fat accumulation and fatty livers. Liver fails to synthesis plasma albumin thus leading to Oedema.

4. Muscle wasting and anemia due to the shortage of hemoglobin are common feature due to the deficiency of protein.

5. In case there is a deficiency of protein in life, the possibility of mental malfunction increases.

6. The amino acids presents in the protein help in tissue synthesis during growth period e.g. infancy childhood and adolescence. The body goes into negative N2 -balance due to the shortage of protein in the diet. This results in muscle wastage

7. Proteins from important constituents of hormones. How-ever the deficiency of proteins leads to no marked and characteristic changes in the functioning of endocrine glands.

8. Proteins furnish 10-12per cent of calories required daily. However the major part of proteins is essentially for body-building purposes only.