Zinc Deficiency - What to Look out for

A Zinc deficiency is no joke, though it isn’t something that we think about too often. Most of the time we are concerned with the vitamins and minerals that have a more direct or simple effect on our bodies. After all, we know that calcium contributes to the strength of our bones, so we make sure we get enough of that. We know that iron is really important for the blood and for avoiding anemia, so make sure we get enough iron. Zinc, on the other hand, is at least as important as any other mineral, but in a subtler way. Here’s how you can know if you have a zinc deficiency, and what you can do about it.

Why Zinc is so important

First of all, what is Zinc and why is it so important and why is a Zinc deficiency so dangerous? Zinc is a trace mineral that assists in the production of literally hundreds of important enzymes in your body, making a healthy supply crucial for make sure you can properly regulate your body’s functions. Zinc helps to build up and strengthen your immune system, it’s important when your body needs to heal injuries, it aids in protein synthesis and is essential if you want your cells to reproduce properly. Zinc also has an important role to play in your reproductive health, assisting all the different aspects of fertility and conception. Because it’s so necessarily, a zinc deficiency can cause a lot of problems.

 

There are a few key factors that increase the chances that most people have a Zinc deficiency. One is not having a Zinc deficiency in their diets. This mineral shows up in a number of different foods, but is most present in nuts, whole grains, beans, dairy, meat and poultry. The more natural and whole these foods are, the more absorbable Zinc you can get from them. Unfortunately, research suggest that we can only absorb about 30% of the Zinc that we consume, which means that even the most mineral rich foods we eat won’t necessarily save us from a Zinc deficiency. The combination of eating the wrong foods, and not absorbing most of what we need, can easily result in a Zinc deficiency. As a final note, pregnant and nursing mothers are also at a high risk for having a Zinc deficiency due to greater demands on the mineral.

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Common symptoms of a Zinc deficiency

Some of the most common symptoms of a Zinc deficiency include having problems sleeping; producing a lot of dandruff; slow healing of your wounds; loss of hair, skin and nail quality; bowl problems like diarrhea; and reproductive problems like fertility issues or lack of sex drive. A Zinc deficiency can cause problems with your sense of smell and taste can be linked to low zinc levels, as can a decreased ability to remember things clearly. A Zinc deficiency can also cause a sharp decrease in appetite, resulting in dramatic weight loss or eating disorders like anorexia.

 

The best way to combat a Zinc deficiency is to start incorporating more of the mineral into your diet. Eating more eggs, meat, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and oysters is a good start. However, as I mentioned before, a lot of the zinc in foods is not that bio-available, so taking a high quality, all natural Zinc supplement might be a good idea if you feel you might have a Zinc deficiency. Combining a healthier diet with proper supplementation is likely to restock your body with this important mineral.