How Much Protein Does The Human Body Need Per Day

Are you wondering about protein intake in your diet? How much protein is enough? How can you make sure you eat enough protein? This article will elucidate the topic of protein by giving an overview of what proteins are, and how much your body needs.

On average, your body needs around 0.75g of protein per kilo of body weight. However, this might differ according to age. 

To understand why you need proteins in the first place, as well as what happens if you do not have enough protein in your body, keep reading this article. It will give you a thorough and simplified overview of the function and importance of protein in our body. 

About proteins

To survive, our body needs energy. Energy can be derived from three different sources. i) sugar and carbohydrates, ii) fat, and iii) protein. Sugar is the fastest source to be processed into readily available energy and can also be stored in fat tissue. Protein is also turned into the form of muscles, instead of fat tissue.1 

Benefits of protein in our body

There are different benefits of protein in our body. For example, protein is turned into muscles. While muscle tissue needs a lot of energy, having muscles is crucial for body movement. Maintaining adequate protein levels is essential to keep healthy muscles. 

Furthermore, protein is very energy dense. Therefore, storing protein is energy efficient. If we are not able to eat for extended periods of time, the fat and sugar stores will be used up, the body metabolizes the protein to maintain energy levels as protein is very energy dense. This is a very efficient way of obtaining energy readily. 

Protein also helps to maintain and repair cells in your body. Cell formation and maintenance are crucial for your health. In this way, proteins are involved in wound healing as well. 

Hormones and enzymes also require protein for their formationl.1, 2

Types of protein

As proteins have different benefits for the human body, they exist in different types.2 

Hormones: The body uses proteins to build hormones. Hormones are messengers in the body that are vital for survival and communication throughout and within the body. Different hormones include insulin, estrogen, and testosterone. 

Structural protein: Proteins also play a vital function in the structure and structural support of the body. They are involved in collagen, elastin and keratin. These are important parts of bone, cartilage, hair and nail health, as well as your skin. Proteins are key aspects of collagen, elastin, and keratin formation and maintenance. 

Enzymes: In your body, there are different enzymes and enzymes are a type of protein. The role of enzymes is to accelerate chemical processes that are vital to the functioning of your body. Enzymes are involved in almost all chemical processes, from digestion and the energy metabolism to processes in the brain. 

Defensive protein: Antibodies are also made up of protein. Antibodies protect your body by fighting diseases. 

Transporters: There are chemicals in the body that need to be transported, that do not like to be in the water. This is referred to as hydrophobic. If a hydrophobic molecule needs to be transported in the body, it needs a carrier, so that it does not have to touch the blood, which is like water. Those carriers are proteins that attach to the chemical that needs transporting and carries throughout the bloodstream. They are vital for your health and the functioning of your body. 

Storage protein: Proteins also function as a storage for different minerals s in your body, such as iron. 

Contractile protein: Contractile proteins describe the structure in the muscles that make your muscles contract. They are referred to as myosin and actin. While those are necessary for you to be able to move your arm, they are also vital for bodily functions, such as contracting your heart, through which blood is pumped into the body. 

Receptors: To survive, the cells in your body need to communicate with one another. In order to do so, they send out signals and receive signals from other cells. To receive signals, receptors are needed. They are located on the cell membrane, or outer layer of the cells. Receptors are also made up of proteins and are vital to our survival.

Sources of protein

Protein can be derived from different sources, such as vegetables and meat. 

Plant-based food: 

  • Pulses (chickpeas and lentils)
  • Beans (kidney beans, soy beans, etc…)
  • Soy containing food, (tofu and tempeh)
  • Nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts) 
  • Grains (rice, wheat flour, porridge, pasta, etc …)

Animal-based food: 

  • Meat 
  • Fish
  • Egg
  • Milk products (yogurt, cheese, milk)

There are also artificial protein sources or supplements, such as protein powder. Those can be, both, plant-based and animal-based, as they might contain milk or other animal products.3

How much protein does the human body need per day

How much protein one needs per day is dependent on age and health. Older people are likely to need more protein because of commonly present muscle atrophy. If you suffer from illnesses, such as cancer, you might also need to increase your daily protein intake. Eating more protein can also be important after surgery, as protein aids wound healing.4

  • Adults: 0.75g per kilo of body weight 
  • Older people: 1-1.5g protein per kilo body weight 

How much is enough?

To know how much protein is enough, you would have to see whether the protein intake covers the minimal dietary needs of your body to keep you healthy. While 0.75g per kilo of body weight per day is a good guideline for your dietary intake, there is no exact number of how much protein is enough. This might also differ from person to person. By maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, you should be able to obtain the amount of protein required.4, 5

What happens when protein is low in the body? 

If your body is low in protein, several symptoms can occur:6 

  • Swelling of the hands, feet, legs, and abdomen
  • Issues with your skin, hair, and nails, such as flaky skin, or thin hair. This may occur because your body needs protein to maintain skin, hair and nail health.
  • Mood changes can result from low protein levels in your body because many neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that the brain uses to communicate within the brain and the body, are built with the building blocks of protein. With low protein levels, there might not be sufficient neurotransmitters, which can affect your mood. 
  • Feeling Hungry
  • Weakness and Fatigue
  • Slow wound healing - due to low protein levels, your injuries are likely to heal slower. As mentioned, protein helps with wound healing,.
  • Weaker immune system - being sick for longer, and getting sick more easily.

Things to remember

It is important to remember that there are individual differences in the required protein intake and metabolism. If you are concerned about your protein intake, it is a good idea to consult with your healthcare practitioner. If you experience the symptoms mentioned above, consult with your doctor as well. While the symptoms can result from low protein levels, they can also have another cause. 

While it can be quite simple to increase protein intake in your diet, it is not always easy to start, especially if you are not sure how. For further information, read through the food with a high protein section. There are many meals that can include the mentioned products. It can also be helpful to reach out to your doctor or dietitian. 


What are proteins? 

Proteins are chemical structures that you get through your dietary intake, which are a vital aspect of many different processes in your body. There are different types of proteins in the body, such as receptors and carriers, all of which are important for the functioning of our bodies. Protein can be derived from our diet. High protein products include milk and dairy products, meat and fish, as well as soy products, beans and pulses. The body needs enough protein to maintain bodily functions. The recommended minimum protein intake for adults is around 0.75 grams of protein per kilo of body weight. Protein intake should increase with age. Having low protein levels in the body can have many negative consequences, such as feeling weak and tired, mood changes or swelling in the body. 

If you are concerned about your protein intake or symptoms you might be experiencing, reach out to your healthcare practitioner.


  1. Protein - british nutrition foundation [Internet]. [cited 2022 Nov 18]. Available from:
  2. 8 types of protein - find out about the proteins and their functions [Internet]. MealPro. 2017 [cited 2022 Nov 18]. Available from:
  3. Protein - british nutrition foundation [Internet]. [cited 2022 Nov 18]. Available from:
  4. Protein: What you need to know [Internet]. [cited 2022 Nov 18]. Available from:
  5. Staff HHP. How much protein do you need every day? [Internet]. Harvard Health. 2015 [cited 2022 Nov 18]. Available from:
  6. 7 signs you’re not getting enough protein [Internet]. WebMD. [cited 2022 Nov 18]. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Magdalena Pfaff

Bachelor’s in liberal arts and Sciences – Neuroscience, University College Maastricht

Pursuing a Bachelor in the field of neuroscience with special interest in the connection of body and mind from a biological perspective. She is a motivated and ambitious student who has experience in working in the laboratory, as well as in a therapeutic environment. By combining mental and physical health, she wants to do research and work with patients.

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