9 Clear Zinc Deficiency Symptoms, Foods & Treatment to Cure It
What are the most common Zinc Deficiency Symptoms?
Is Zinc Deficiency common?
Such questions might come to your mind when you read about Zinc deficiency. In today’s post, I will try to provide you with more information about zinc deficiency its symptoms, zinc-rich foods etc.
Zinc deficiency is common but most of the time people remain unaware of it. We heard people talking about their blood report and how much iron, vitamin B12 or vitamin D deficient they are, but I personally have never heard anyone saying that they are zinc deficient. Every year millions of people in India are found zinc deficient.
Zinc deficiency can be caused by insufficient dietary intake, inadequate absorption of zinc, increased loss, or increased body system utilization. In this post, I have listed 9 clear zinc deficiency symptoms which will help you to determine if you are zinc deficient. If you find any of these symptoms then get a zinc test done immediately and start including zinc rich foods in your diet.
What is Zinc?
Zinc which is also called essential trace element is found in very small quantity in the human body. It mostly plays the role of catalyst in the enzymatic reaction carried out in our body. According to WHO report around 32% of the world population is prevalent to zinc deficiency. (2)
Why is Zinc Important?
Zinc plays a catalytic role in more than 100 enzymatic reactions carried out in our body. It means if zinc is less or absent in body then those enzymatic reactions cannot occur which can lead to a series of diseases. If you have zinc deficiency you might face problems like slow wound healing, diarrhea or lose motion, short height etc.
Irrespective of your age your need for Zinc remains constant. People tend to think ‘I am getting old. My bones are lacking in calcium so does zinc, what a big deal in it ?’. But this is not correct. Zinc is not Calcium. It is very essential for some of the vital functions of your body.
For youngsters, it is very important to maintain the normal level of zinc in the body. Zinc has a key role to play in the growth and development activity like cell production and immune system. Sexual health and reproduction function can be harmed in absence of adequate levels of zinc in your body.
Zinc Rich Foods
Mostly Nuts and Seeds are rich in Zinc. Some of which are Almonds, Cashews, Flaxseeds, Sesame Seeds, pumpkin seeds etc. Cocoa Powder, Peanuts, Chickpeas, Kidney Beans, Garlic, Yogurt, Brown rice, and Spinach are also rich in zinc.
As discussed above Zinc is essential for a healthy body, let us look at some of the amazing benefits of including zinc in the diet. (1)
- Improved immunity
- Powerful Antioxidant
- Improves hormonal balance
- Regulates blood sugar level
- Improves heart health
- Increases fertility in men
- Helps in nutrient absorption
Zinc Deficiency Symptoms:
1. Frequent Acne
Frequent acne is one of the symptoms of zinc deficiency. As zinc is responsible for the reproduction of new cells, deficiency of it can cause slow healing of acne, it can also lead to dryness of skin and excessive scaling.
Dirt might be another reason for frequent acne, try face and body scrubs to get glowing skin.
2. Impaired Wound Healing
Zinc is responsible to accelerate the healing process by the formation of new cells and excretion of dead cells. Zinc helps in faster wound healing. This is one of the clearest zinc deficiency symptoms.
Many a time diabetes can also be a cause of impaired wound healing. If your would is taking a lot of time to heal or you are experiencing pain or infection in that area, consult your doctor immediately.
3. Affects Sensory Organs
Severe zinc deficiency affects our sense of smell and taste. It can also lead to night blindness when combined with vitamin A deficiency.
4. Weak Immune System
Zinc deficiency weakens our immune system. It can lead to frequent common cold and flu, running nose etc.
Zinc deficiency affects cognitive functions such as reasoning, memory, attention, and language. If you have a zinc deficiency, you may be facing a problem regarding any of these cognitive functions. This is one of the clearest zinc deficiency symptoms.
6. Psychological Disorders
Zinc deficiency plays a major role in psychological disorders. It interrupts in the normal functioning of the brain. It can cause a reduction in levels of dopamine and serotonin in your body which directly affects your mood and self-confidence.
Psychological problems are important to be diagnosed as early as possible. If you feel any attention problems consult a doctor. If the problems are due to zinc deficiency, they are easier to treat with proper medication.
7. Stunted Growth
Zinc deficiency causes stunted growth as it is required during cell reproduction and regeneration. It can also cause metabolic disorders which interfere with absorption of other required nutrients. This is one of the clearest zinc deficiency symptoms.
Here is an informative video from Dr. Axe
8. Affected Growth and Development During Pregnancy
Zinc deficiency affects both mother and fetus. It can cause difficult and prolonged labor, hemorrhage, and detachment of the placenta from the womb before delivery.
You might have observed doctors ask for your blood report when it is confirmed that you are pregnant. They check the level of vital nutrients, signs of any disease etc so that you will have a healthy pregnancy.
9. Affected Testosterone Production
Zinc deficiency can cause hormonal imbalances in men. Production of male hormone testosterone is largely dependent on zinc. If your zinc levels are normal but you are facing sex related issue, Kegel exercises can help you get better.
10. Sudden Weight Loss
Sudden unexplained weight loss can be a result of any nutritional deficiency or illness. If you are experiencing any sudden weight loss then it is better to consult your doctor to know the reason. If zinc deficiency is the cause of this weight loss you can start taking zinc supplements that would help you restrict this weight loss.
11. Lack of Alertness
If you find lack of alertness or constant dizziness you might be suffering from low zinc levels. Many have reported lack of concentration also as one of the symptoms of zinc deficiency. So if you are finding any of these symptoms it is advisable to get the checkup done and start on the treatment.
The common reason for zinc deficiency is lack of absorption capability. If you are suffering from any of the stomach related problems like diarrhea then it is possible to have low levels of zinc. If you are having frequent diarrhea problem you need to consult your doctor immediately.
People try treating zinc deficiency before they get cured of other illness. So to make it clear it is not possible to get the zinc level up before your body responds to the zinc by absorbing it. Get the illness cured and then you can work on improving the zinc levels.
13. Loss of Appetite
You might experience loss of appetite if you are suffering from any vitamin deficiency like zinc. This can also affect your health and weight. If you don’t feel hungry even after fasting for hours then you need to consult your doctor. Once your zinc levels get normal the appetite is also back.
14. Skin disorders
Open sores on the skin is one of the most common zinc deficiency symptoms. If you find your skin showing such signs do consult a dermatologist. Once you start the treatment this will go away soon.
Zinc Deficiency Diagnosis :
There are different tests that can help with zinc deficiency diagnosis. I have listed 3 main tests out of those
- Blood test
- Urine test
- Hair strand
Identifying zinc deficiency via a regular blood test is a little difficult. You might have to undergo a blood plasma test to know the exact diagnosis. Apart from the blood test, urine test and hair strand test can be used to detect the zinc deficiency.
As we discussed earlier the zinc deficiency is not common so it can be a result of some illness. The zinc is not properly absorbed in the body leading to zinc deficiency.
Zinc Deficiency Treatment
Zinc deficiency can be treated by including zinc-rich foods in your diet. There is no need to take supplements as a variety of simple foods are rich in zinc.
How to Avoid Zinc Deficiency?
Zinc deficiency can be avoided by regular and proper consumption of zinc-rich foods in your diet. The best way is to get the zinc from your regular diet but if your zinc levels are very low you can opt for zinc supplements.
Include Zinc in your Diet
The best way to get a good amount of zinc is consuming zinc-rich foods. If you are diagnosed with any medical condition where the zinc absorption is affected it is advisable to get it cured first.
Zinc Rich Foods for Vegetarians
If you are a vegetarian you can include zinc-rich foods in your diet like cashew, almonds, seeds, wild rice or peas. This will help you get a good amount of zinc and recover from the zinc deficiency fast. Dry fruits like cashew or almonds can be included in the diet as the first meal in the morning. When you get up generally you are fasting for last 8-10 hrs and a nutritious food like dry fruits can be an ideal diet.
Zinc Rich Foods for Non-Vegetarians
Oysters, red meat are a rich source of zinc. If you are a nonvegetarian it is easier for you to get the zinc and other vitamins easily.
Include Zinc Via Supplements
If the levels of zinc are pretty low in your body, starting to take supplements is a good option. Zinc supplements help you to get the sufficient levels of zinc and help cure the deficiency fast.
These are some important zinc deficiency symptoms. Write to me if you like today’s post or your suggestions. Also, do write to me regarding the topics you want to read.