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How to Tell Whether You Have a Zinc Deficiency

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The human body is a complicated organism, and because of that it requires a lot of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to function properly. Think of your body as a fine automobile, with its quality of performance dependent upon its upkeep. One of the major contributors to having and maintaining optimal general health is zinc. The body needs enough of this chemical to survive, so having a zinc deficiency can cause some serious problems.

General Symptoms of a Zinc Deficiency

A person might suffer from a zinc deficiency if he or she has gastrointestinal issues, has kidney or liver disease, or is on certain types of medications, mostly because these conditions prevent the absorption of the chemical. Malabsorption is among the leading causes of zinc deficiency, so women who are pregnant or nursing, the elderly, and especially young children are urged to stay on top of this through regular visits with a doctor or nutritionist. Be advised that zinc is responsible for blood clotting, DNA and protein synthesis, cell division, the growth and development of a fetus, and wound healing—making it an especially important factor in your overall health.

How Do I Know If I Have a Deficiency?

Your doctor will be able to put a label on things, but you can take a proactive approach to your health by keeping an eye on yourself. The following symptoms are the most commonly shared among those who were found to have a zinc deficiency:

Lowered Immunities

Because zinc is responsible for cellular activities, a deficiency can compromise the health of your immune system. This unfortunate situation will make someone prone to illness, which can eventually snowball into a more serious situation if it is not handled in a timely manner.

· Digestive Issues

A lot of folks with a zinc deficiency will ultimately suffer from diarrhea, which is typically caused by the compromised immune system. Other digestive issues such as indigestion, leaky gut syndrome, constipation, and hard stools are also common.

Skin and Hair Problems

Those who don’t get enough zinc in their diets might have to deal with some embarrassing hair loss or even skin lesions on the scalp. A zinc deficiency actually weakens the strength of the cells in the body, which leaves you open to injury. In fact, hair loss and skin lesions are two of the most common symptoms of a zinc problem.

Other Symptoms

Again, speaking with a doctor or nutritionist is your best bet here. However, keep an eye out for these other symptoms that are commonly associated with a zinc deficiency:


  • Loss of appetite
  • Anorexia
  • Impaired motor functions
  • Impaired cognitive functions
  • Infertility
  • Skin rashes
  • Problems sleeping
  • Lack of sex drive
  • Spots on the fingernails or toenails
  • Anemia
  • Loss of taste or smell

See your doctor immediately if you see these symptoms or if yours become more severe, as it could be a sign of something more serious.