Not getting enough protein can impact our bones throughout childhood as well as adulthood. According to experts at the International Osteoporosis Foundation, inadequate protein consumption during childhood inhibits the release and functioning of a hormone known as Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1). IGF-1 helps the body better absorb calcium and phosphate, two minerals that are essential to our bone health. Therefore, a lack of protein in one’s diet during childhood can hinder proper bone development.
Our bones routinely undergo a cycle of formation and destruction during our lifetime (via the Cleveland Clinic). As we progress into older adulthood, however, what happens to our bones is that this cycle of deterioration and renewal can become imbalanced, and bone destruction may occur more rapidly than bone development. Elderly individuals who do not get enough protein on a regular basis are therefore more susceptible to bone breakages and a condition known as osteoporosis.