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The daily recommended protein intake for an average sedentary woman is around 46 grams. For men, its 56, according to If you’re an avid athlete, pregnant, or going through other hormone fluctuations, you may require different amounts.

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Regardless of what the proper number is for you (determine that with your doctor, based on your lifestyle and overall health), tracking our protein can be tough but they make up the building blocks of…well…everything. Every organ and bone in your body needs protein. Here are signs you may be low on protein.

1. Low immunity

Protein plays a big role in building antibodies. If you’re low on antibodies, then your immunity will decline, and you’ll have a hard time fighting off viruses. Should you find yourself catching more colds than usual, low protein could be at play.

2. Joint pain

When you’re low on protein, your muscle fluid may begin breaking down. Once again, your body is pulling that protein to the essential organs. When this occurs, you can experience more joint pain.

3. Nails breaking

Do you find your nails breaking? Do they feel soft, bending quicker when you push on them? Protein makes up your nails, so when you’re low on it, you’ll notice that your nails crack, chip, and break easily.

4. Hair thinning

When you are low on protein, your body actually reduces hair growth in order to conserve protein for other jobs. That’s why you can find your hair thinning if you don’t get enough of this important nutrient.

5. Your fat to muscle ratio

Have you been looking or feeling flabby, even though the scale says you’ve actually lost weight? That could be because, due to low protein, you’re losing muscle mass.

6. You’re tired

Protein plays a role in hemoglobin production, which transports oxygen through the body. If you don’t have enough of it, you’re bound to feel constantly tired.

7. You’re craving sugar

When you don’t eat enough protein—which can keep your blood sugar stable—your body may crave sugar for an instant blood sugar boost.

8. Your fingers and toes blow up

By blow up we mean expand. Having enough protein keeps fluid from pooling in our extremities (hands and feet). If you’re low on it, you may find these parts of your body swelling.

9. You feel faint

Low protein makes for thinner blood and that means a drop in blood pressure. If you find yourself feeling light headed often, you may be low in protein.

10. Flaky skin

Your skin is one of your largest organs and protein is the building block of it. If your skin has been flaky lately, it could be a sign it doesn’t have the proteins it needs to create new cells.