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Mar 2024

All you need to know about zinc deficiency

Posted By Suborna Fermi Posted on Mar 08, 2024

Zinc is an essential nutrient that your body requires to stay healthy. Although your body does not require this nutrient in large amounts, it is possible to develop a zinc deficiency. Hair fall, loss of taste, and loss of smell are common symptoms of zinc deficiency.

The importance of zinc in the human body:

Your body requires quite a variety of types of vitamins and minerals; one of them is zinc. This nutrient is necessary to support immune function and cell production. Zinc is also essential for growth, reproduction, and sexual development.

Your body cannot produce or store zinc. That is why if your body does not derive enough zinc from foods, it may lead to zinc deficiency.

What are the symptoms of zinc deficiency?

When you have a zinc deficiency, your body cannot produce new cells, which leads to a range of symptoms. The symptoms may include:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Poor immune function
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • wounds that do not heal
  • Loss of smell and taste
  • Lack of alertness
  • Open sores on the skin
  • Delayed sexual maturity

Men and boys may also experience erectile dysfunction and hypogonadism.

What are the complications of zinc deficiency?

In pregnant women, zinc deficiency may affect fetus development and growth. Also, if a couple is trying to get pregnant, then zinc deficiency might make it difficult to conceive because it causes erectile dysfunction in males.

How is zinc deficiency diagnosed?

Your doctor may prescribe a blood test to detect a zinc deficiency. However, as zinc is present in small amounts among the cells in the body, it can be difficult to detect zinc deficiency only with a blood test.

Therefore, a blood plasma test is needed for a definitive reading of the zinc levels. Your doctor may also want to know about your full health history and diet.

How is zinc deficiency treated?

The treatment for zinc deficiency begins with changing the diet. To manage the zinc levels in your body, try to add red meat, oysters, poultry, wheat germs, seeds, and wild rice to your diet.

If you are a vegetarian, then it might be a little difficult to get enough zinc from the foods you eat. You can eat cashews, almonds, baked beans, and peas as an alternative source of zinc.

Your doctor may also recommend taking certain supplements along with dietary changes to treat zinc deficiency right away. Zinc is found in multivitamins and cold medicines.

Generally, zinc deficiency is not a life-threatening condition. However, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding and suspect that you are deficient in zinc, then make sure to get treatment as soon as possible because it can impact the growth or development of the baby.