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Zinc Deficiency: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Jun 15, 2024

What is the treatment?

Our body requires zinc, an important trace mineral, to fight off infections and produce cells to heal injuries and also to create DNA. To stay healthy, we need zinc. The optimum quantity of zinc intake in the body varies with sex and age.

Nonetheless, one out of three people suffer from zinc deficiency and they do not even realize that. A person who is suffering from zinc deficiency may be because the intake is inadequate, or it is being poorly absorbed into their body or their need for zinc in the body increases.

Symptoms of zinc deficiency include growth retardation, diarrhoea, hair loss, delayed sexual maturation and impotence, loss of appetite, delayed healing of wounds, eye and skin lesions, white spots on fingernails, poor nail growth or brittle nails, headaches, dizziness etc.

Zinc deficiency can be treated by restoring the minimal amount of zinc required by the body for its proper functioning. Changing the diet to foods that are rich in zinc can be used to provide the body with the mineral. Some foods which help to cure zinc deficiency are red meat, poultry, seeds, wheat germ, wild rice, oysters etc. Baked beans, cashews, peas, and almonds can also act as alternatives. Also, if foods are not enough, additional zinc supplements can be taken so that the adequate zinc proportion is attained.

How is the treatment done?

If zinc deficiency has been suspected by the physician, blood plasma must be tested for an accurate reading. Other tests for zinc deficiency include a urine test and an analysis of a strand of hair to measure the zinc content. After proper diagnosis of the root cause, doctors prescribe medicines which are meant to supplement the zinc in our body. Also, a proper diet chart is provided for the same. With proper care, zinc deficiency can easily be reversed.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Zinc deficiency is not a major issue and can be cured easily. However, if a women is pregnant and symptoms of zinc deficiency show up, then it is essential to address the doctor immediately for medical assistance. Adequate amount of zinc is essential for the development of the foetus in the womb. Also, when symptoms of diarrhoea, nausea, anemia, frequent infections,malabsorption do not fade away in a short time, a doctor should be consulted.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Zinc deficiency can easily be cured if symptoms are mild. Proper intake of food to increase the zinc content of the body will cure the deficiency. In such cases, no medical treatment is needed.

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Are there any side effects?

As the treatment of zinc deficiency mainly refers to restoring the adequate amount in our body rather than any such medical treatment, it does not have major side effects. However, for routine zinc supplements, proper medical reference and guidelines must be taken to avoid zinc excess in the body.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

To prevent and avoid unwanted complications, zinc level in the body should be maintained properly. If additional supplements have been provided, it should be taken as prescribed without failure. Proper dietary food should be consumed to maintain sufficient zinc in the body. Also, things that impact zinc absorption or contribute to zinc deficiency like alcohol, certain pills and medicines should be avoided.

How long does it take to recover?

Zinc deficiency does not take long to recover. With an early diagnosis and regular care, it is soon brought under control. The required amount of zinc in the body is provided by proper food and supplements and is cured in a span of few weeks.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Zinc deficiency does not cost much. It will mainly include the consultation fee of the doctor in cases of medical assistance. Supplements are also available at cheap prices.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Zinc deficiency treatment is all about restoring the necessary amount of zinc in the body. The treatment is usually and for most of the times, permanent. However, care should be taken to maintain proper intake of zinc via food to prevent the proportion of zinc from falling again.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Zinc is an essential micronutrient that is easily provided by dietary healthy foods. But vegetarians who do not consume meat can use ayurveda treatment apart from consuming cashews, almonds etc.

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Written ByDt. Ms. Archana Desai P.G.In Dietitics,BSc - Dietitics / NutritionDietitian/Nutritionist
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