Zinc deficiency symptoms

Zinc is an important trace element in the human body. It helps to facilitate the production of needed enzymes as well as the function of the immune system, protein synthesis, wound healing and is also an important element in fertility and conception. Zinc is a naturally occurring element found in many foods such as poultry, dairy foods, meats, beans, nuts and whole grains. The human body however, can only absorb around thirty percent of the zinc that is eaten. It is this lower absorption rate that accounts for zinc deficiency which is a very common disorder. In order to prevent damage to normal bodily functions, zinc deficiency should be diagnosed and managed as soon as possible.

The main cause of zinc deficiency is inadequate amounts of zinc in your daily diet. Other causes related to the disorder include loss of zinc from the body and a higher requirement of the element such as when a woman is pregnant or lactating. Zinc deficiencies tend to occur more in children, mothers and elderly people although others can suffer from the disorder as well.

Zinc deficiency symptoms vary from one individual to another and one patient’s symptoms may never be seen in another patient with the same problem. The symptoms of zinc deficiency also typically worsen as zinc reserves in the body are depleted over time. Some of the most common zinc deficiency symptoms include moderate to severe dandruff, behavioral and sleep disturbances, a prolonged delay in wound healing, consistent diarrhea, hyperactivity, an increase in sensitivity to allergens, inflammation of the cuticles in the finger and toenails, hair loss, hang nails, inflammatory bowel disease or disorder, an increased loss of appetite, loss of sex drive, mild anemia, loss of senses such as smell or taste and white spots on the fingernails. Other more moderate symptoms of this disorder may include PMS or a disturbance in normal menstrual cycles and pre-eclampsia during pregnancy or post-partum depression.

Once a zinc deficiency is diagnosed it is important to begin treatment right away. The most common and the most obvious form of treatment for this disorder is increasing your intake of foods that contain high amounts of zinc. Oysters, peas, many meats, eggs, nuts and whole grains are good foods for those looking to add zinc to their daily diet. Oats and pumpkin seeds also contain high levels of zinc. Taking certain daily vitamins and minerals also help to increase the absorption of zinc into the body. Vitamins A, B6 and E along with minerals like calcium, phosphorus and magnesium help the body to absorb the zinc found in foods and can increase the level of zinc in your body.

Severe cases of zinc deficiencies can also be managed by taking zinc supplements. There are currently two forms of zinc supplements on the market. Zinc gluconate and zinc sulfate come in doses that range from around 15 to more than 300 milligrams each. Your doctor will likely recommend a supplement and tell you which dosage is best for your individual needs. You should note however that taking zinc in supplement form has proven to produce some mild side effects. Be certain to discuss these with your doctor before beginning a zinc supplement regimen.

Zinc is a very important trace mineral that aids your body in a variety of functions. In order to ensure proper bodily functions, it is important that you have your zinc levels checked occasionally, particularly if you are experiencing symptoms of zinc deficiency. If you feel that you have zinc deficiency, make an appointment with your physician as soon as possible to have your zinc levels checked and be certain that you follow the treatment plan that your doctor gives you to increase the levels of the mineral in your body and ensure proper functioning of major bodily processes.

Last updated on Dec 9th, 2010 and filed under Vitamins and Minerals. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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