Zinc Deficiency: Causes, Symptoms,& Prevention
Zinc is an essential mineral which is important in many physiological functions, such as immune system support, wound healing, DNA synthesis, and protein metabolism. Regardless of its significance, most of the world's population suffers from zinc deficiency. Did you know that zinc deficiency affects up to 2 billion people? Want to know more? Then, buckle up and keep scrolling to learn more about the symptoms and causes of zinc deficiency!
Let's Understand What is Zinc Deficiency?
Zinc deficiency is a lack of adequate levels of the essential mineral zinc in the body. A common micronutrient deficiency can cause multiple health problems, including poor growth and development, a weakened immune system, impaired wound healing, skin problems, and decreased ability to taste and smell. Zinc is essential for multiple body functions, including DNA synthesis, cell division, protein metabolism, and is also required for enzyme activities. Zinc deficiency can occur due to inadequate dietary intake, malabsorption issues, or chronic illness.
Causes of Zinc Deficiency
There are multiple reasons why a person might be deficient in zinc, including:
A diet that lacks enough zinc can cause zinc deficiency. This is common in developing countries where people have limited access to food that is rich in zinc.
Alcohol can interfere with the absorption and utilization of zinc, leading to zinc deficiency in heavy drinkers.
Certain medications, such as diuretics, antibiotics, and antacids, can reduce the amount of zinc absorbed from the gut.
The elderly are more prone to zinc deficiency due to changes in the digestive system and decreased food intake.
Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency
The symptoms of zinc deficiency can vary, but some common symptoms include:
Zinc for Hair Loss
We require zinc for a number of reasons, such as building healthy cells, regulating hormones, and assisting in the absorption of other nutrients are a few of these benefits. Of course, having too much of anything can be harmful, and the same applies to zinc. Excessive intake of zinc in the body can cause DHT levels to rise (Dihydrotestosterone).
Zinc is quite effective in preventing and treating hair loss because:
- It helps keep hormone levels under control.
- It helps in reducing scalp irritation and relieves itchiness.
- It helps in treating androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness.
- Reduces hair loss
- Controls dandruff
Zinc for Skin
Zinc is a mineral that acts as an antioxidant and is necessary for producing collagen. Its properties aid with sebum production, tissue strength & restoration, and the healing of skin infections. Zinc regulates and affects cell regeneration, and the epidermis of the skin contains it. Zinc supports antioxidants by reducing free radicals from developing wrinkles at the molecular level.
Zinc advantages for skin
Prevents clogged pores:
Skin cells called keratinocytes create keratin and act as a barrier to shield the skin from outside aggressors. Such excessive production might lead to clogged pores and acne. Zinc controls keratinocyte synthesis and lowers the likelihood of dirt accumulation in pores.
Aids signs of aging:
Collagen and elastin decrease with aging. There are more visible wrinkles, fine lines, sagginess, and lackluster skin. Collagen and elastin are produced more easily when zinc is present, and it supports the skin's underlying framework.
Keeps skin moisturized and hydrated:
Age is a factor in your body's productivity. In this case, it reduces the skin's natural moisture. Transepidermal water loss (TEWL) from the skin is reduced and prevented by zinc. It works well for people with dry skin.
Protects skin from photoaging:
Dark patches and hyperpigmentation can be caused by the sun. Don't be alarmed; zinc oxide (ZnO) may block solar radiation, and it shields your skin from UV rays. Look for zinc-containing sunscreens to shield you from UVA and UVB rays.
Foods Rich In Zinc:
Here are some of the richest sources of zinc for vegetarians and non-vegetarians:
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Hemp Seeds
- Ricotta Cheese
Prevention of Zinc Deficiency
Prevention of zinc deficiency is crucial for maintaining optimal health and preventing the negative effects of a deficiency. Here are some effective ways to avoid zinc deficiency:
Increase your zinc intake through diet:
The best way to prevent zinc deficiency is by ensuring that you are getting enough zinc from your diet.
Take a zinc supplement:
Consider taking a zinc supplement if the diet doesn't provide enough zinc. Talk to your doctor before starting any supplementation to determine the right dose.
Avoid excessive phytates and calcium:
Phytates and calcium can interfere with zinc absorption. So, limiting your consumption of foods high in phytates, such as whole grains and calcium-rich dairy products, is essential.
Improve your gut health:
A healthy gut can improve zinc absorption and help prevent deficiency. To improve gut health, eat a diet rich in fiber and fermented foods, reduce stress, and avoid consuming processed and junk foods.
Avoid alcohol consumption:
Alcohol can reduce zinc absorption and increase its excretion from the body. So, it's important to limit alcohol consumption to prevent zinc deficiency.
In conclusion, zinc deficiency can lead to several adverse health effects. By increasing zinc intake through dietary sources or zinc supplements and seeking medical attention when necessary, zinc deficiency can be effectively managed.
Stay strong and healthy with Zinc.