Protein Deficiency

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6 Citations (Scopus)


The term 'protein deficiency' represents a state of relative or absolute deficiency of body proteins or one or more of the essential amino acids. 'Protein turnover' reflects the balance of protein degradation and resynthesis. More synthesis than breakdown indicates an anabolic state that builds lean tissues, more breakdown than synthesis indicates a catabolic state that burns lean tissues. The quantitative relationship between circulating amino acid concentrations and their rate of catabolism is not uniform, either between individuals or between diets. A persistently high or low intake of protein leads to an overall increase or decrease in rate of amino acid catabolism that is partially independent of circulating amino acid concentrations. Although the main cause of protein deficiency is a protein-deficient diet, the disorder can commonly occur in a variety of pathologic states. The dietary treatment of protein deficiency depends on the cause of the deficiency and must depend on a sound understanding of the underlying disorder and the mainstay of treatment includes balanced energy-protein and micronutrient supplementation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Human Nutrition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780123848857
ISBN (Print)9780123750839
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • Amino acid deficiency
  • Amino acids
  • Causes of protein deficiency
  • Nitrogen balance
  • Protein deficiency
  • Protein regulation
  • Proteins
  • Starvation
  • Treatment of protein deficiency


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