Zinc is a vital mineral that is essential for a host of bodily functions and mechanisms that involve energy and metabolism. One of its most significant functions is supporting the immune and defense system. Zinc also plays a pivotal part in carbohydrate break-down for energy, growth and development, and multiplications of cells.
Zinc is found in plenty in protein rich foods, such as red meat, pulses and legumes, beans, and peanuts. If you are deficient in zinc, you must take a supplement. A balanced diet will provide you this important element in the required amounts.
Given that, zinc is so essential for various bodily functions, a deficiency can cause several disorders and problems. People having a deficiency tend to experience hearing and / or visual loss, are more vulnerable to infections, show delayed sexual maturation, thinning of hair, weight loss and anemia and have a dry skin.
Severe deficiency of zinc can be extremely dangerous for your health; consequently, it is necessary that you seek prompt medical care if you suspect of a deficiency on the basis of the symptoms.
What Causes Deficiency Of Zinc?
Zinc deficiency occurs due to an insufficient level of zinc in your diet. Having an unbalanced diet, dietary errors, eating too much of refined and packaged food can pose as a cause.
It is easier for the body to get hold of zinc from non vegetarian sources, rather than from vegetarian sources; for that reason, most people who consume strict vegetarian diets may be lacking in the mineral. Ensuring that you eat a balanced and wholesome diet that includes plenty of foods high in zinc, such as legumes, peanuts and red meat can help lessen your risk of deficiency. In case your diet is principally vegetarian, you will definitely need to take zinc supplements.
Risk factors that are associated with zinc deficiency are several. These include:
- The consumption of animal protein is restricted or you have a vegetarian diet.
- Living in a region where there is no proper nutrition.
Symptoms And Treatment Of Zinc Deficiency
Mild deficiency may be apparent as very subtle signs; however, it is very crucial to identify zinc deficiency at the very outset and start supplementation. Commonly seen zinc deficiency symptoms are:
- Thinning of hair and / or hair loss.
- Delayed sexual maturation.
- Dry or scaly skin.
- Loss of appetite.
- Changes in the visual acuity.
- Inadequate and improper growth and development.
- Chronic and recurrent infections.
- Diminished sense of taste or smell.
- Slow healing of injuries and wounds.
- Inexplicable weight loss.
Zinc Deficiency Treatment
Zinc deficiency is effectively managed by supplementation; zinc supplements help restore normal quantity of zinc in the diet. A capsule of zinc can be started once daily for a period of 1 month; thereafter, depending up on the intensity of the symptoms, the dosage can be tapered off. However, do confer with your health care professional before embarking up on long term supplementation of zinc. He will decide the dosage for you and will let you know when to stop supplements.
Step up your intake of zinc from dietary / natural sources, such as, oysters, peanuts, dark chocolate, wheat germ, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, beef and lamb.