Your body may require small amounts of zinc, but without this critical mineral, many important functions can be affected, leading to troubling symptoms. Zinc helps in cell growth, heals the body and supports a strong immune system. Meat, poultry, seafood, legumes, whole grains are all good sources of zinc. In case of deficiency, zinc supplements are also recommended. Zinc deficiency can affect the sense of taste and smell, in addition to hair and skin health. It can also manifest as non-healing trauma or even mood swings and memory problems. Zinc requirements may increase during periods of rapid growth, such as childhood, adolescence or pregnancy. (See photos: Trace elements for healthy hormones: Experts share tips)
While its deficiency can disrupt body functions, too much zinc can cause toxicity and lead to symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. This is why zinc supplements should only be taken on the advice of your doctor.
Dr Rahul Agrawal Consultant General Medicine CARE Hospitals Hitec City Hyderabad in an interview with HT Digital shares top signs of zinc deficiency that you should never ignore.
SIGNS OF ZINC DEFICIENCY
1. Hair loss: Have you been losing a lot of hair lately? You may be deficient in zinc. An important mineral for hair growth and maintenance, zinc deficiency can lead to hair loss or thinning.
2. Eye problems: Zinc is vital for maintaining eye health. Deficiency can lead to vision problems, night blindness or difficulty adjusting to low light conditions.
3. Loss of taste and smell: Not just Covid, zinc deficiency can also lead to loss of taste and smell. Zinc is essential for the proper functioning of the taste and smell receptors. A lack of zinc can lead to a reduced ability to taste and smell.
4. Impaired wound healing: Zinc plays a vital role in the healing process, and a deficiency can slow wound healing and increase the risk of infections.
5. Skin problems: Don’t always blame the extreme winter or hot summer for your skin problems. The appearance of your skin can also depend on your intake of critical nutrients. Zinc deficiency can manifest itself in various skin problems, including dry skin, dermatitis or other skin conditions.
6. Frequent infections: Zinc is essential for a healthy immune system. Zinc deficiency can lead to increased susceptibility to infection and disease.
7. Poor growth: Zinc is an important mineral for the growth of body cells. In children, zinc deficiency can lead to delayed growth and development.
8. Digestive problems: Zinc is involved in the production of stomach acid and digestive enzymes. Deficiency can contribute to digestive problems such as diarrhea or malabsorption.
9. Hypogonadism: In men, zinc deficiency can lead to decreased testosterone levels and related symptoms such as decreased libido and fertility problems.
10. Neurological symptoms: Severe zinc deficiency can affect the nervous system, leading to symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, mood swings and memory impairment.
If you suspect zinc deficiency, your doctor may recommend a blood test to measure your zinc levels and provide appropriate guidance on supplements or dietary changes.