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Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency

Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency

There are many symptoms that clearly show signs of zinc deficiency. As soon as you see any of these symptoms, you need to take the necessary steps to respond...
Stephen Rampur
Last Updated: Feb 8, 2018
Zinc is essential for the growth of micro-organisms, plants, animals, and human beings. It is useful for the body in many ways and carries out various functions, such as cell growth and division, and metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and energy. It also helps in curing skin problems such as acne, boils, and also sore throat. Zinc is also responsible for the growth and maintenance of the muscles.
Zinc is needed for certain metabolic functions. If the proportion of zinc in the body is low, it can become a major cause for genetic disorders. It can also cause fertility problems in men, and abnormal growth and slow sexual maturity in children. The primary cause for this condition is insufficient nutrition, but the causes can even be associated to after-effects of bariatric surgery, diabetes, and other such disorders.
Zinc Deficiency Symptoms List
Abnormal Growth
Zinc deficiency can cause both abnormal mental and physical growth in children. If a mother does not have appropriate proportion of zinc in her body when she is pregnant, it can affect the unborn child and lead to many abnormalities at birth. The physical growth of the child may stop or slow down; this may also result in dwarfism. The child may also have some mental and psychological problems, as his brain is not developing in a normal way.
Hypogonadism
It is a medical term used for improper functioning of the reproductive system that results in a defect in the proper operation of gonads (ovaries or testes). The gonads have two functions: to produce hormones and to produce eggs or sperms. The deficiency of sex and reproductive hormones can result in defective primary or secondary sexual development. This is a serious disorder that can be avoided by consuming zinc-rich foods at a proper level.
Skin Problems
Zinc deficiency can have a bad effect on your skin as well. The skin can turn pale or rough. Stretch marks are also a symptom of zinc deficiency. This essential element does the job of collagen synthesis which if strong helps in the healing process of wounds on the skin. Acne and greasy skin are some other symptoms. Appropriate intake of zinc by the body even prevents acne and helps get rid of the scars.
Weight Loss
Weight loss is a symptom of zinc deficiency, but can also be a symptom of other diseases or deficiencies. In case of zinc deficiency, it can lead to loss of appetite that can indirectly cause weight loss or hamper the growth of new cells and tissues in the body. Children can be underweight from birth, if they suffer from zinc deficiency.
Diarrhea
Deficiency of zinc causes diarrhea, but the mechanism by which it is caused is unknown. In some registered cases, the level of diarrhea was lessened by about 15% with zinc supplementation. Zinc medications are easily available at medical stores, but they should only be taken after the consultation of a health practitioner. The dosage to be taken daily is also important for the treatment to be more effective.
Emotional Instability
Zinc deficiency can affect your brain, which can lead to many emotional disturbances in your daily life. Anger, sudden fright, depression, and low confidence, including emotional instability are some symptoms that can occur. The most common symptom is frequent mood changes. If zinc deficiency is not paid proper attention to, it may result in a condition known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Joint and Hip Pain
Painful hip and knee joints have also been linked to zinc deficiency. Bones contain a large amount of zinc, and deficiency of this essential mineral will cause pain and other complications. The main reason for joint and hip pain in zinc deficiency is that zinc prevents calcium from being absorbed efficiently by the bones.
Hair Loss
Hair loss is a common symptom of zinc deficiency and is caused by the formation of dandruff in the hair which eventually causes this symptom. As long as your hair is deprived of zinc, it will not grow normally. People with lack of zinc for a while can even experience hair loss on other parts of the body. Note that if zinc is consumed more than what is actually required, this may too lead to hair loss.
Appetite Issues
Improper intake of zinc in the body may lead to a severe loss of appetite, which may then result in serious problems like anorexia. Eating less causes malnutrition and eventually lower zinc intake, which may make the condition all the more dangerous with zinc getting lower and lower. A weak body then is more prone to infections and lower immunity levels, simply due to the deficiency of zinc.
Other Symptoms
There are miscellaneous symptoms of zinc deficiency; such as white spots on fingernails, poor nail growth, impaired sense of taste and smell, poor night vision, impotence, improper menstrual cycle, and so on. Continuous shivering of hands also reflects zinc deficiency. Besides, there are many other minor symptoms that might in some or the other way be linked to a lack of zinc. Since zinc aids in more than one process in the human body, its deficiency can lead to many abnormalities.
Zinc is a necessary dietary mineral for a healthy body and its deficiency symptoms should not to be ignored. To make up for its deficiency, one should eat healthy foods such as pecan, cashew and pine nuts, and also fish and eggs. Zinc is lost in the milling and cooking processes, eventually resulting in low consumption of zinc. Another way to overcome symptoms of this deficiency would be by taking zinc supplements under the supervision of a qualified medical practitioner.