Zinc Deficiency – Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

Zinc Deficiency - Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

Zinc is one of the very important minerals that your body requires for various processes. You naturally obtain zinc from the foods and drinks that you consume. Wheat, sesame, poppy, alfalfa, beans, nuts, almonds, whole grains, sunflower and pumpkin seeds are some of the seeds that contain the highest amounts of zinc. Beef, lamb and liver are foods that provide your body with adequate amounts of zinc. Every jurisdiction has its own Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). This is because of various factors including the amount of zinc in soil. On a general basis, the daily intake is 8 mg/day (+/- 2mg). It is important to note that zinc is not stored in your body and it is only important that you obtain adequate amounts from your diet.

Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency

Because zinc is associated with varied body processes, inadequate amounts of the same lead to breakdown of such processes. Such breakdown show through various symptoms, which include:

  • Frequent infections – Zinc is vital for a strong and healthy immune system. Inadequate supply of the same leads to a weak immune system, leading to frequent common illnesses such as colds, flu and diarrhea amongst others.
  • Retarded growth – Lack of or deficiency of zinc (especially in children) leads to retarded growth and development.
  • Skin diseases – Zinc deficiency leads to various skin ailments including acne. This also causes hair loss on the scalp.
  • Decreased body mass – Zinc plays a major role in the building of health and strong body mass. Any deficiency therefore leads to lean unhealthy body mass.
  • Loss of appetite – Zinc deficiency leads to loss of appetite, which can degenerate into anorexia, a condition in which you do not feel hungry at all. This complex process can easily lead to death if not managed.
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Causes of Zinc Deficiency

These are just some of the symptoms you may experience with zinc deficiency. You are likely to experience other symptoms and signs. Zinc deficiency can be caused by three main factors:

  • Malabsorption – While your regular diet may be composed of foods and drinks containing zinc, your system can fail to absorb the same. This is malabsorption syndrome, which can be brought about by diseases such as unmanaged diabetes mellitus, chronic liver disease, chronic renal disease and bariatric surgery treatment.
  • Inadequate dietary intake – While your regular diet may be composed of foods and drinks known to contain zinc, the same may not be so. This is because the soil on which the foods were grown did not have adequate zinc. This means that your diet lacks in zinc.
  • Diet lacking in zinc – Your diet may be one that is composed of foods that do not contain zinc at all.

Treatment for Zinc Deficiency

Zinc deficiency treatment is through various ways:

  • Zinc tablets – These are available in various tablet forms including zinc oxide, zinc acetate and zinc gluconate. Zinc tablets have shown effectiveness in controlling accelerated skin aging and in achieving healthy body muscles.
  • Zinc supplements – Various supplements containing zinc are available through pharmacies.
  • Food fortification – It is now a common practice for food manufacturers to fortify their food products with reasonable amounts of zinc. This is perhaps out of realization that most foods lack in zinc.

In studies undertaken, zinc has proved to be very effective in age-related muscular degeneration. Zinc is also vital in genetics. Ensure that your regular diet is rich in foods containing zinc. If need be, use zinc treatment. In doing so however, you need to be careful because excess zinc in your system presents other health challenges.

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