Expert Contribution

Let’s Talk Protein!

Protein helps you rebuild, recover, and heal from injuries and illnesses! It helps you keep your muscle if you’re losing weight, and it plays a big role in many of your body’s functions, including brain function. Protein makes neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers in your brain that are responsible for mood! If you don’t eat enough protein, you will most certainly be in less-than-optimal shape.

7 Signs you may need more protein

#1: You Feel Hungry All Day. Protein helps keep you feeling full throughout the day. Protein can help keep your appetite at bay between meals.

#2: You are Shaky and Irritable, Especially Between Meals. Protein is essential for blood sugar control. It helps slow digestion and prevents post-meal blood sugar spikes, as well as increases feelings of satiety.

#3: Your Cravings are Through the Roof! You’re trying to eat less sugar or quit alcohol and you can’t seem to stop using it. This is because the surge of adrenaline after a blood sugar crash can feel like a craving.

#4 You Feel Like Your Workout Recovery is Slower, with More Soreness. This can be because the protein collagen, which is found in connective tissues, plays a role in helping your body heal and repair itself!

#5 You Notice Your Skin, Hair or Nails are Lackluster, or maybe your hair isn’t growing as quickly or isn’t as thick as usual. This is because your hair, skin, and nails are made up of proteins like elastin, collagen, and keratin.

#6: You Feel Tired and Weak. Not eating enough protein for even just a week can affect your muscles! Especially those responsible for your posture and general movement. Protein also helps your body maintain its muscle mass if you’re losing weight, which can be very important for your keeping up your strength.

#7: You are Anxious, Scattered or Have Low Moods. Protein plays a big role in all the chemicals and enzymes in your body. That includes neurotransmitters that can affect your brain and your mood, like dopamine and serotonin. Protein is composed of amino acids. If you’re deficient in any one amino acid, you will feel it in your mood.

Protein Grams in Common Foods:

3.5 oz organic chicken or beef – 30g

1 organic, pastured egg – 6g

1 can tuna – 40g

1 cup quinoa – 8g

¼ cup almonds – 8g

½ cup beans + ½ cup brown rice – 10g

How much protein do you need? The very MINIMUM requirement is half your body weight in grams! Spreading your protein intake out over the course of the day is the best bet for making the most of it. So, make sure you’re eating something with protein in it at every meal!

For Mood Issues, consider taking targeted amino acid supplements, like 5HTP or L-Tyrosine, which will target specific neurotransmitter deficiencies. A trained amino acid therapist can help you with recommendations.

I hope this article helps you make informed dietary choices to help you reach your goals!

Questions? Contact us by calling (925) 788-6300 or emailing


By Chris Engen NC, CRNC, BCHN with Body Love Cafe

About The Author

Functional Medicine & Nutrition
Dr. Brandy Zachary, DC, IFMCP
Body Love Cafe

Dr. Brandy Zachary, DC, IFMCP discovered the power of Functional Medicine first hand when a “mystery illness” left her declared permanently disabled. Unwilling to accept that diagnosis, she fought back and launched Body Love Cafe, an award-winning holistic health clinic.

BLC is all about natural medicine that meets cutting-edge science to provide answers as to why you don’t feel well. We hear you. We see you. We believe you. It’s not in your head and we’ve got the technique and labs to show why.

Patients have said “Dr. Zachary figures out why you feel like crap but your MD says you’re fine.” 

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