Zinc has such a fundamental meaning for health so the experts have difficulties to briefly summarize how everything affects the body. Each cell system and organ in the body require zinc for proper functioning and it has a unique role in the metabolism of cells, immune function, wound healing and expression of DNA.
Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency
Because zinc has such a major role in the body, the symptoms of deficiency of this mineral can display hundreds of ways.
- Hair loss
- and skin
- Loss of appetite
To this list can be added and weight loss, “fuzzy” thinking and often feeling ill due to the weakening of the immune system.
Who Can be Affected by Zinc Deficiency
Fortunately, people consume enough of this mineral through their food, so the actual zinc deficiencies are rare. The symptoms of deficiency are changing with age. Young children who do not get enough zinc may experience slow or stopped growth, loss of appetite, bad mood, and apathy. In older adults, it manifests itself in problems with memory and thinking, weakened immune system, and macular degeneration-loss of vision.
Food with Zinc
Almost every food contain zinc, and its bio-availability ( an amount which the body can easily extract and use) varies between the different food groups. The best sources of zinc are oysters, animals such as mollusks and animal meats – meaning if you follow a carnivorous or diversified diet, the risk of deficiency is extremely low.
Vegetarians May be At Risk of Zinc Deficiency
Chances are increasing among those who are vegetarian or vegan because they need 50% more than the recommended daily dose of zinc compared with the dose who take the carnivores. The reason for this is that many plant foods (especially legumes and objectives grains) containing phytic acid which blocks the absorption of zinc.
Alcohol Interrupts the Zinc Absorption
Alcohol blocks the absorption of zinc in the intestine, thereby alcohol increase the amount of zinc that is lost through urination. A lot of food which contains zinc is also rich in iron – so if there is a lack of zinc, it is likely there is a lack of iron too.
If you are diagnosed with a deficiency of zinc, consult your doctor before taking any supplements. Taking too much zinc (over 40 mg per day) can cause symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, headaches and diarrhea, and zinc can influence some drugs, such as certain types antibiotics and diuretics.