Understanding Zinc Deficiency: Signs, Dangers, and Treatments
Recognizing zinc deficiency signs is essential for maintaining your health as this condition is quite dangerous. It’s also extremely common as over 2.2 billion people on the planet suffer from it. The most common cause of this deficiency is reduced dietary intake. Therefore, it can be treated by taking zinc supplements and redesigning your diet. It’s imperative to keep your zinc levels high as the lack of this element has many dangerous manifestations. They vary from diarrhea to lowered testosterone levels.
Zinc Deficiency Signs: What to Look Out For
Because zinc takes part in many biological processes, its deficiency can manifest in dozens of ways. The most common symptoms include:
- Looks: acne, eczema, dermatitis.
- Oral health: stomatitis, foul breath, white tongue coating.
- Senses: impaired sense of smell and taste, night blindness.
- Immunity: slow wound healing, increased frequency of infections and inflammations.
- Digestive tract: reduced appetite (up to the point of anorexia), diarrhea, indigestion.
- Brain and psychological health: reduced cognitive function (ability to learn and memory), lethargy, irritability,
- Hormonal health: reduced levels of testosterone (zinc is a component of the testosterone synthesis process).
- Pregnancy and child development: stunted growth in children, prolonged labor, hemorrhage, low weight and development in newborns.
As you can see, zinc deficiency signs are rather drastic. However, all these conditions can occur for a variety of reasons. Also note that such severe symptoms only occur when the deficiency is severe and has been going for a long time.
The most dangerous thing about this condition is that it often goes unnoticed or is misdiagnosed. Therefore, by the time doctors ‘catch’ the deficiency, it has already dealt a lot of damage. That is supposing the condition is diagnosed at all as it’s very difficult to determine the level of zinc in the body. The blood serum analysis for it might not show a dangerous drop for many months.
With no opportunity for reliable diagnosis, the best way to deal with the problem is prevention. This means that you shouldn’t wait for zinc deficiency signs to appear. Instead, take a proactive role and increase the amount of zinc in your diet.
How to Prevent and Treat Zinc Deficiency
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of zinc per day varies depending on age and gender:
- 0-6 months: 2 mg
- 7 months-3 years: 3 mg
- 4-8 years: 5 mg
- 9-13 years: 8 mg
- 14-18 years: boys 11 mg, girls 9 mg
- 19+ years: men 11 mg, women 8 mg (pregnant women 11 mg and 12 mg during lactation)
Aside from imbalanced diet, risk factors for zinc deficiency include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Anemic disorders
As it takes a while for zinc deficiency symptoms to appear, you should make sure that your diet is always full of foods rich in this element:
- Pumpkin seeds
Unfortunately, even eating a serving of each a day won’t provide you with 100% RDA. This means that taking zinc supplements is a smart way to go. Zinc 50mg from Nature’s Potent will provide you with a large dose of this vital element.
Zinc isn’t the type of nutrient that your body can ‘overload’ on, so you don’t have to worry about getting too much of it. In fact, your body will partially store it, so you’ll only need to go through a course of supplements occasionally.
You also should understand that only a part of the zinc you consume (both from food and supplements) gets absorbed. Therefore, ingesting a larger dose increases your chances of actually boosting your zinc levels.
Please bear in mind that issues with absorption or increased use can cause this deficiency in a few rare cases. This means that if taking supplements doesn’t make the zinc deficiency signs go away, you must consult a healthcare professional.
Check out our other posts to get more tips on how to eat healthy.