Protein Energy Malnutrition and Its Ayurvedic Management


According to this Shloka symptoms of a weak immune system are:

  1. Dislocation of body parts and vata dosha imbalance
  2. Alteration of physical as well as mental conditions
  3. Inflammation due to vitiation of vata dosha
  4. Unable to move the body parts
  5. Skin discoloration
  6. Dizziness
  7. Mental fatigue
  8. Sleeping difficulty

Reference: Sushruta samhita (Sutra sthan- Chapter: 15 and shloka: 29)

Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) is another form of malnutrition in which there are ranges of pathological conditions that arise from coincident lack of dietary protein or calories in varying proportions in the body.

The condition has mild, moderate and severe degrees.

Malnutrition refers to nutrient’s deficiency or over consumption.

Types of Malnutrition Include

  • Under-nutrition: This nutrition occurs when a person is not getting the proper nutrients such as protein, calories or micronutrients.
  • Over-nutrition: Over consumption of certain nutrients such as fats, proteins or fats which can lead to malnutrition and results in overweight or obesity.

The Main Symptoms of Under-Nutrition

  1. Fatigue
  2. Weight loss
  3. Loss of muscle mass
  4. Swelling in the stomach
  5. Sunken eyes
  6. Dry skin and hair
  7. Difficulty in concentrating
  8. Irritability
  9. Anxiety and depression

Symptoms of Over-Nutrition are

  • Obesity and overweight

What are the Causes of Protein-Energy Malnutrition?

The main causes of PEM

  1. Lack of access to sufficient and affordable food
  2. Digestion related problems
  3. Insufficient nutrient absorption
  4. Consumption of alcohol in excess quantity
  5. Mental health disorders such as depression

This condition mainly affects the children the most because of less protein intake. There are rare cases found.

Protein-energy malnutrition is also referred to as protein-energy under-nutrition. This nutrition does not occur due to short term illness. It is more likely to be caused due to malnutrition over a longer period. There are mainly two types of malnutrition-related conditions are marasmus and kwashiorkor.


Marasmus occurs due to the deficiency of protein level in the body. It is most often occurs in young children and babies who lead to dehydration and weight loss. Starvation is among another form of this disorder. The symptoms include:

Protein Energy Malnutrition and Its Ayurvedic Management
Protein Energy Malnutrition and Its Ayurvedic Management
  1. Dehydration
  2. Chronic diarrhea
  3. Weight loss
  4. Shrinkage of the stomach

People who are living in rural areas where it is difficult to get food, it has a shortage of food are at a greater risk for marasmus. Babies including babies who are not breastfed and young children are at an increased risk for marasmus.


This condition only occurs in people who have a lower level of protein in the body, i.e., who have a severe protein deficiency. Children who develop kwashiorkor are mainly older than children who develop marasmus. The diet that mainly has carbohydrates can lead to this condition.

The Symptoms Related to Kwashiorkor are

  1. Edema or swollen appearance due to the retention of fluid
  2. Bulging of the abdomen
  3. Inability to gain weight or grow

People who are living in a rural area are at a greater risk for kwashiorkor. The children who have been weaned off of breast milk are also at a greater risk for kwashiorkor if they don’t have the access to food that is rich in proteins.

The Other Main Causes of Marasmus and Kwashiorkor

The cause of these conditions is a lack of access to food.

  • Famine
  • Poverty
  • There is an inability of the caregiver to get food due to the physical inability or lack of transportation.

What are the Symptoms of PEM?

  • Fatigue
  • Low body temperature
  • Diarrhea
  • Reduced appetite
  • Irritability
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Bruises
  • Lack of emotions
  • Difficulty in staying warm
  • Numbness and tingling sensation in the upper and lower limbs

Natural Treatment for Protein-Energy Malnutrition

Planet Ayurveda comes up with the best and specific herbal remedies for the treatment of protein-energy malnutrition which is PEM care pack. All of these formulations are formulated by using the best quality of herbs under the strict supervision of MD Ayurveda experts. These formulations are free from chemicals, filler, additives, and colors. These formulations strictly follow the principles of Ayurveda and have no coloration added.

  • Ashwagandha Capsules

The term ashwagandha is a combination of two words ie., ashwa and gandha in which ashwa means horse and gandha mean smell. So, it means the smell of horse and the role of this herb is that it supports the strength of the body. Ashwagandha capsules are formulated with the pure and standardized extract of ashwagandha. These capsules are helpful in maintaining the body’s immune system after an illness such as protein-energy malnutrition. It is also helpful in managing depression and stress.

Dosage: 1 or 2 capsules two times a day with plain water after.

  • Shatavari Capsules

Shatavari capsules are formulated with the pure extract of Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) which acts as a rejuvenating since ancient times. This herb is considered as a nourishing herb which is full of micronutrients and natural anti-oxidants. These capsules improve the overall health of the body and overcome the fatigue, anxiety, restlessness and general weakness related to PEM.

Dosage: 1 to 2 capsules two times a day with plain water after meals.

  • Atirasadi Churna

Atirasadi churna is a potent combination of rejuvenating herbs that have been in Ayurveda since many ages for increasing strength and stamina. The herbs present in it are Safed Musli, kali musli, semal musli, gokshura, vidari kand, varahi kand, akarkara, Kesar, Ashwagandha, Shatavari, keasr, Jaipal and taalmakhana. All of these herbs work in a synergistic manner and treats fatigue and general weakness related to PEM.