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Lack of Zinc - Symptoms, Cause, Sources and Tips

One of the significant problems for most countries is the lack of zinc in people's diet. According to the World Health Organization, the zinc deficiency may reach 31% of the population women, small children, mothers who are breastfeeding and seniors.

The mineral is essential and has many functions in the human body. Some of them are: stabilize components of cell membranes; essential for cell division, necessary during pregnancy, childhood and adolescence; important in immune function; involved in the process of wound healing and tissue repair; necessary for the senses of the palate and smell.

Zinc deficiency can occur in soils, plants and animals, including humans. Unfortunately, millions of people suffer from this deficiency, but they do not know this or the condition. It is possible to observe the symptoms of zinc deficiency with caution and see if this is a problem that may be reaching you. Check out the most common symptoms below:

Symptoms of zinc deficiency

1. Poor neurological function

Zinc is absolutely essential for neuropsychological growth and performance. Low levels of it may be related to attention disorders in newborns and may follow even into adulthood. In addition, a pregnant mother may be weakened by lack of zinc and cause damage to the fetal neurological system, impairing the child's motor and cognitive abilities.

A Chinese study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that zinc supplementation can provide only 50% of the recommended amount per day.

But even with this information, do not give too much zinc to your children. Research has shown that zinc is best absorbed when ingested with other types of nutrients, such as whole foods.

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2. Low immunity

Zinc is also critical for the proper functioning of immune function, which is vital to prevent diseases, protect against viruses and cancers, protection of the cell membrane, among others. The lack of zinc can lead to reduced or weakened antibodies, compromising the immunity system.

In addition, it is an essential structural component for a hormones and proteins that contribute to health, causing balance of mood and function immunological.

3. Diarrhea

Due to the low immunity due to zinc deficiency, diarrhea may be one of the persistent symptoms. It affects about 2 million children each year in developed countries, making them more susceptible to bacterial infections.

However, zinc supplementation only becomes effective in infants over six months of age. So be sure to check with your pediatrician to see what is the best option for your young child.

4. Food allergy and some environments

Zinc plays a key role in the way the body stores histamine (involved in immune response processes). With lack of zinc, histamine can rise.

Excess histamine in the body can produce symptoms associated with allergies such as coryza, sneezing, hives and others. In addition, they may increase the sensitivity of allergic reactions.

5. Loss of hair

This symptom is very common in people who struggle with zinc deficiency, which may still be associated with hypothyroidism, which causes people to have hair loss and baldness.

According to researchers, thyroid hormones are essential for the absorption of zinc.

6. Poor absorption of nutrients

Lack of zinc can lead to a difficulty for the intestine to absorb nutrients, leading to other problems such as skin diseases, allergy, thyroid problems, among others.

7. Acnes and rashes

In the lack of zinc and with the bowel problem, various skin problems are caused, among them acnes and rashes.

8. Loss of appetite and / or anorexia

Lack of zinc can also cause loss of appetite. If this deficiency is not identified and untreated, it may eventually lead to anorexia.

Causes of zinc deficiency

We know that the lack of a mineral in the human body is due in most cases to a poor diet. However, there are other causes that can target certain people.

People with the following health conditions below are more likely to suffer from lack of zinc:

  • Alcoholism:Excessive use of alcohol can put users at a considerable risk of having problem with zinc deficiency;
  • Diabetes:Doctors warn that people with diabetes should be wary of using zinc products because high doses can drastically lower blood sugar;
  • Hemodialysis:Patients on hemodialysis are also susceptible to zinc deficiency, and may have to take supplementation;
  • HIV and AIDS:Zinc should be taken with caution by people suffering from these diseases;
  • Nutrient absorption syndrome:People who have difficulty absorbing nutrients may also need supplementation.

Zinc deficiency also affects other people:

  • Newborns with low birth weight;
  • Children with inadequate intake of zinc-rich foods;
  • Pregnant and lactating women;
  • Patients receiving intravenous feeding;
  • Malnourished people, including people suffering from anorexia and bulimia;
  • People with severe or persistent diarrhea;
  • Patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease;
  • Individuals with chronic kidney disease;
  • People with sickle cell anemia;
  • People who use certain medications;
  • Older individuals (65 years or older);
  • Strict vegetarians.

Zinc in athletes' lives

Athletes need to pay even more attention to the consumption of zinc because of the functions of this mineral in the body. For healthy cell division and proper functioning of metabolism, the body needs zinc; in addition, it helps to repair the tissues after the exercises.

The mineral also plays essential role in the production of hormones like testosterone, which is essential in building lean mass.

Zinc is also key in maintaining the strong heart, the respiratory system and keeping cholesterol levels healthy.

To maintain a faster recovery and health in the day, the athletes also depend on the zinc. In addition, it also assists in improving bone health by helping with wounds, forming collagen, helping prevent osteoporosis, and thus avoiding bone fractures.

How to reset

If you have any of the symptoms listed above, or you think you are suffering from a lack of zinc, try to seek medical help to check for the need to take supplements.

Either way, another natural way to replenish zinc and prevent its deficiency is by eating foods rich in zinc. Here are some of them you can include in your diet:

  • Pumpkin seeds;
  • Red meat;
  • Lamb meat;
  • Cashew nut;
  • Chickpea;
  • Mushrooms;
  • Chicken meat;
  • Yogurt;
  • Spinach;
  • Cocoa powder;
  • Cheeses;
  • Whole grains.

It is worth remembering that authorities agree that high zinc consumption is not safe, as it may cough, fatigue, fever, stomach pains, affect blood iron and various other problems of Cheers. This is why it is so important to check with your doctor to see if you already suffer from the conduct detailed examinations that accompany this deficiency and arrive at the best possible replacement.


Have you been experiencing symptoms of zinc deficiency frequently in your daily life? Do you think you need to increase your intake of nutrient sources? Comment below.

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