The Guide To Maternal Dietary Protein Deficiency


A person in a wedding dress

The consumption of dietary protein is essential for the growth and development of an infant. It also contributes to a healthy nervous system, which in turn affects brain development. The brain needs a certain amount of amino acids, including amino acids found exclusively in protein-rich foods, to develop properly. Protein deficiency can therefore result in stunted, retarded, or even impaired growth and mental development. A protein deficiency can affect not only an infant’s physical but also their mental health.

What Is Maternal Dietary Protein Deficiency?

A person standing on top of a grass covered field

Although some experts argue that there is no such thing as dietary protein deficiency, others insist that it happens more often than one would believe. Some studies have indicated that as many as 50 percent of infants suffer from protein deficiency. One of the most common causes of protein deficiency is through intake of non-essential amino acids, such as those found in dairy products and meats. Other food groups that are exceptionally high in amino acids include fish, nuts, eggs, soy, and seeds. Not to mention that plant foods such as soybeans and corn contain no essential amino acids.

What Are The Causes Of Dietary Protein Deficiency?

A hand holding a baby

Dietary protein deficiency can also occur due to low levels of certain hormones or immune system chemicals. In infants with low birth weight, low albumin levels, or low placental cord blood protein levels, the body’s ability to absorb protein is impaired. When this happens, tissues are instead used to produce glycogen, not contributing to proper tissue growth. Glycogen is not used as a fuel source, so it tends to get converted into fat. In children with AIDS, cancer, or acute infection, the pancreas, liver, or kidneys may not metabolize glucose properly. Without glucose to metabolize, the brain does not get enough energy.

What Is The Impact Of Protein Deficiency? 

Some studies have shown links between fetal growth loss and maternal dietary protein deficiency. In one study, premature babies were underweight, and their mothers had low protein intakes during pregnancy. In another study, premature babies were found to have increased risks of contracting infectious diseases if they had low fetal growth protein concentrations. The studies showed that the risk of infections like measles, chickenpox, and shingles was elevated in these children.

As we age, our diets tend to become lower in quality, and protein becomes less important. Many people wonder how maintaining brain function is possible when they age. The answer is that it is not. While protein may be a significant factor in keeping you healthy, you do not need a high protein intake to maintain brain function.

Final Thoughts

Since the blood can only absorb nutrients at a certain density level, the blood can’t absorb enough nutrition to provide your body with all of the nutrients it needs. If you are trying to prevent this condition, you can make sure that you’re receiving all the essential nutrients that your body needs by taking a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement. 

One mineral found in a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement that can help prevent maternal dietary protein deficiency is folic acid. Folic acid is found in fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy products. If you don’t eat any of these foods, you should consider increasing your intake of folic acid in your diet.

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter