Consequences of Protein Deficiency: Intake and Digestibility

by Dr. David Minkoff March 21, 2022 6 min read

Woman during cool down after working out with trees in the background.

The following is adapted from The Search for the Perfect Protein, chapter 5.

We’ve established that inadequate protein intake can cause devastating results. A lack of nutrition along with environmental toxicity are the reasons for the poor health we experience today. Never before in human history has the human race suffered from epidemics like diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s, ALS, osteoporosis, obesity, cancers, Lyme disease, chronic fatigue, and countless other problems.

We’ve also established that an inability to digest enough protein contributes to the increase in health issues and disease. Patients come into the clinic, and we discover they haven’t been eating or digesting well; they’re toxic because they’re unaware of what they’ve been putting into their bodies, or what they’ve been exposed to.

We examine them and then help reverse harmful processes to get them back to a healthier state to put the brakes on their body’s downhill slide and help it climb back up, we need to reduce their toxic load. This always involves rebuilding their protein nutrition along with the rest of their nutritional needs like vitamin, mineral, and essential fatty acid intake.

Patients with inadequate protein might also be unable to detoxify. The urine test we run identifies twenty-four different categories of environmental toxins; if there are high levels of any of them, we know the body isn’t getting rid of them efficiently, or the person is being poisoned without realizing it. We discover toxins like gasoline additives, Styrofoam, plastics, fumigants, pesticides, and dry-cleaning fluids, to name a few.

Interestingly enough, if we test two people who live in the same house, these toxins can appear in one person’s urine and not the other. For example, a wife’s detoxification pathways might work well because she has an adequate intake of amino acids and minerals. Her husband, on the other hand, might have a low level of amino acids making him unable to create enzymes to detoxify and this makes him sick. Some of the ability to detoxify is genetic, but much of it is related to the person’s health and nutrition.


A twelve-year-old girl in Florida gradually became tired and lethargic—she had trouble doing her homework, and she complained that she could not “think,” do her math problems or write her essays. She just wanted to lie in bed and rest. After nine months, there had been no change in her condition. She was seen by twenty different doctors in various locations including the Pediatric University Hospital. They concluded that she had a psychiatric problem, so they put her on psychiatric medications, but they did not help.

Eventually, her parents brought her in to see me, and I ran a panel for environmental toxins. All of the tests came back negative except for one that revealed extremely high levels of the gasoline octane booster additives HTBE and MTBE in her system. Virtually everyone on the planet has some level of these additives in their system because gasoline fumes are everywhere, and by inhalation, they enter our bodies. Per the lab, normal measurements of these additives are under two hundred, but they are considered acceptable up to eight hundred. However, this girl’s level was 39,000! The lab was very concerned when they called to tell me, as this was the highest level they’d ever seen in a child. I asked the parents if the girl was sniffing gasoline, washing her hands in it, or taking cars apart. A light dawned on them and they said, “Oh, my goodness! A couple of years ago she decided that she wanted to be the next Danica Patrick and win a NASCAR race; she’s been taking driving lessons in midget race cars on the weekends for the past couple of years.”

We discovered that the girl had been inhaling gas fumes from race car exhaust and that she couldn’t detoxify effectively. She also had a leaky gut and amino acid deficiencies. When we got her to detoxify her body of the chemicals, her brain turned “back on.” This goes to show that we need to consider toxins and other harmful substances in the body as the sources of illness and disease. If we fail to do so, there’s no way for doctors, patients, or parents to identify or eliminate them as possible causes if and when sickness occurs.

This girl’s case was extreme, but it’s not uncommon for us to find toxins present in a patient’s system. I do case after case of amino acid testing, comparing the eight essential amino levels in each person; I’ll find one that’s really low and then another. A typical scenario might be discovering that a person has a bad gut with five bacteria that shouldn’t be there, as well as three parasites. They can’t detoxify, and their health will continue to decline if they don’t begin treatment.


Dion Friedland. Titles include: eight-time world Champion; Twelve-time Mr. universe; Twelve-time Mr. Europe; Five-time Serge Nubret Champion; IFBB Grand Prix de France open Champion; IBFF Mr. International Champion; and Four-time Mr. galaxy Champion.

It’s a relatively well-known fact that between the ages of twenty and sixty, the average person loses a significant amount of lean body mass, bone strength, muscle, and organ tissue. We usually chalk this up to aging, but this is certainly not always the case. For most people, the gradual loss of lean body mass is due to a lack of stimulus and inadequate absorption of amino acids.

For example, I have a seventy-six-year-old friend who is still a bodybuilder. He works out five hours a day to keep his physique and he’s built like the Hulk, with only three percent body fat. Given the right genes, nutrition, and workout ethic, aging bodies can keep their fitness and muscle mass.

Adequate nutrition can maintain lean body mass or at least slow its reduction with aging. Older adults can still manufacture proteins if given the right ingredients getting older doesn’t mean you have to dwindle away. If you keep up the exercise stimulus and your nutrition is good, you can maintain lean body mass while aging.


I gave the example of my body-building friend, and you might think that he naturally maintains lean body mass due to his active lifestyle. But what about a sixty-five-year-old who has been inactive for a long time, and has lost a significant amount of muscle mass? Can they rebuild? It’s difficult to measure, but most people are able to regain a worthwhile amount of mass. Of course, in some cases, the mass may be too far gone and there’s not much that can be done, but overall, it’s possible to turn it around. Women with osteoporosis, for example, can rebuild their bone structure by increasing their intake of vitamin D, amino acids, and hormones. However, they can’t rely completely on medicine; they have to squat and lift other weights to provide the proper stimulus. The bottom line is, it’s never too late to start again! In fact, sometimes older people get the most response from these positive changes because they have the most room for improvement. 


A doctor made this type of improvement apparent at a long-term-care home in Hawaii. The residents were elderly people who couldn’t take care of themselves anymore; many had Alzheimer’s or simply had no strength. When this doctor gave them essential amino acids and nutritious food with vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, he found that many times, within a few months of taking them, patients began to function at higher levels they could get out of bed, dress themselves, and walk down the hall. Their thinking processes also improved: people who formerly could not find their way to the cafeteria had no trouble getting there, and those who used to just sit in a chair all interacted socially with others. This doctor provided other nutrition in addition to the amino acids, but they played a large role in the tremendous improvement of the patients.

So far, we’ve discussed my research experience and how I’ve treated patients with various health issues. I’ve discovered that amino acid supplementation addresses the protein problem while simultaneously alleviating digestive complications. In the next section of the book, we’ll discuss how the protein problem affects different subgroups of people.


Want to learn more? Click HERE to get your copy of Dr. Minkoff's book, "The Search for the Perfect Protein" today!

Perfect Amino Facebook VIP Group - Join now!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.