Our body needs minerals and vitamins to function properly. One of the most important minerals that the body needs is Zinc. But we can only find Zinc in small amounts in foods. Good news is that the body does not need a large amount of Zinc, but it is also possible to be Zinc-deficient. If our body lacks the Zinc it needs, we can experience the symptoms of Zinc deficiency. But, we should not worry because treatments for Zinc deficiency are available.
Our body uses zinc for many important processes. Zinc deficiency is very rare in the United States, but, if we eat a poor diet, there is a possibility to be Zinc deficient. However, doctors recommend treatments for Zinc deficiency.
What is Zinc Deficiency?
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Zinc deficiency is a serious problem that causes 176,000 diarrhea deaths, 207,000 malaria deaths, and 406,000 pneumonia deaths. We all need a regular intake of Zinc. Zinc is also present in every cell, bone, organ, fluid, and tissue in our bodies.
Why is Zinc important for the body?
Zinc supports the functions of cells and helps enzymes to make chemical reactions. Zinc is responsible to boost the immune system and to help our cells divide. Zinc also helps to maintain our sense of taste and smell. And in addition, it helps to heal our wounds faster.
Zinc supports our development and growth. It is a very important mineral, especially for pregnant women and children. Our body does not store Zinc. That is why we should get enough Zinc from the food we eat to prevent Zinc deficiency.
Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency
The symptoms of Zinc deficiency shows how the lack of Zinc affects the performance of the body without Zinc.
Here are the common symptoms of Zinc deficiency:
- Loss of appetite
- Slower growth
- Weak immune system
If the state of Zinc deficiency is severe, its symptoms are severe too:
- Delay In Sexual Maturity
- Different Taste Sensations
- Feeling Lethargic
- Hair Loss
- Skin And Eye Lesions
- Sudden Weight Loss
- Takes Time To Heal Wounds
When males do not produce enough testosterone, there is a risk of hypogonadism and impotence.
What Causes Zinc Deficiency?
According to studies, there are 1.1 billion worldwide who are Zinc deficient because of lack of dietary intakes. But there are three main causes of Zinc deficiency. First is when we do not take enough Zinc through our healthy diet.
Second is when we lose too much amount of Zinc from our body. Or when our body absorbs too little amount of Zinc. Last is when we have a chronic condition. We may suffer from Zinc deficiency when we have these chronic conditions:
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Sickle Cell Disease
- Pancreatic Disease
- Crohn’s Disease
- Chronic Liver Disease
- Celiac Disease
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Chronic Diarrhea
- Alcohol Addiction
Vegetarians consume lower amount of Zinc. It is because Zinc in meats is more efficient. In addition, vegetarian eat legumes, whole-grain, beans, and nuts that lessen the absorption of Zinc in the body.
For older people, they are more at risk to lack Zinc. If they take medications, their bodies can also release Zinc.
Treatments for Zinc Deficiency
There is supplement available for treatments for Zinc deficiency. The supplements have information on the amount of Zinc that each supplement contains. There are also foods that contain Zinc. We can try these foods to prevent Zinc deficiency.
- Baked Beans
- Beef Chuck Roast
- Fortified Breakfast Cereals
- Instant Or Plain Oatmeal
When we eat foods that contain enough amount of Zinc and add it to our healthy diet, we can prevent Zinc deficiency. We can also eat different kinds of foods to take enough Zinc for our body. These healthy foods may include lean meats, vegetables, dairy products or fruits.
If you think that you have a Zinc deficiency, it is important to talk to your doctor and ask for the proper supplements and treatments.
Effects of Too Much Zinc
We can also take too much amount of Zinc when we take supplements to boost the immune system. Too much intake of Zinc can cause you to vomit or to be nauseous. You can also suffer from impaired functions of the immune system. We recommend adults not to take more than 40mg of Zinc every day.
Risk Factors for Zinc Deficiency
People with these health conditions are susceptible to Zinc deficiency:
- HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)/AIDS:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
How to Prevent Zinc Deficiency
We can prepare foods to make our body absorbs Zinc before we cook beans, we can soak it in the water. In that way, we can reduce the phytates. Because of this, the body can process the Zinc easier. We can also choose leavened grain products to reduce phytates. In that way, there will be more amount of Zinc for the body to use.