Protein, also called a compound of amino acids, can be called complete when all of the essential amino acids are present.
A crucial building block for the body, protein is used to make tissues, energy, hormones, antibodies and enzymes as well as to regulate cell division.
The protein RDA is 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women. In the late 1800s, Dr. Carl Voit stated that 118 grams of protein per day was optimal. In recent decades, scientists have revised recommendations downward considerably and have rated vegetable and animal proteins as being equal in quality.
The body can become deficient in protein if too little protein is consumed, such as in kwashiorkor, which literally refers to protein malnutrition.
Poor absorption of protein, such as happens with diarrhea, celiac disease and cystic fibrosis, can also result in protein deficiency.
Whereas diarrhea causes elimination of protein before absorption can take place, gut problems prevent absorption from occurring. Advanced cancer can make the body deficient in protein by consuming its tissues and eaten protein, resulting in whole-body wasting.
Finally, end-stage renal disease can cause protein deficiency by driving excessive elimination of protein through the urine.
An excess of protein in the blood can result from several serious diseases. Certain cancers, including multiple myeloma, can raise levels of blood proteins that are actually tested to make a diagnosis.
HIV and AIDS also is known to result in abnormally high levels of blood proteins. Amyloidosis, bone marrow disorder and monoclonal gammopathy are other causes of high protein levels.
Finally, dehydration can raise tested levels of protein by concentrating the blood. High-protein diets, such as those commonly eaten by bodybuilders, do not raise blood protein levels beyond normal ranges.