Get help from best doctors, anonymously
Common Specialities
Common Issues
Common Treatments

Zinc Deficiency - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Written and reviewed by
BHMS, MD - Homeopathy, Certificate in Gynaecology & Obestric, Ph.D Homeopathy
Homeopath, Delhi  •  21 years experience


  • Diet poor in zinc - inadequate intake of zinc rich foods like meat, shell fish, liver gelatin, beans, rice, bread, cereals lentils etc.
  • Strict vegetarians: their main foods are grains and legumes which are high in phytic acid and they hamper the absorption of zinc from the food.
  • Malabsorption syndrome.
  • Chron`s disease / ulcerative colitis.
  • Chronic liver disease.
  • Chronic renal disease.
  • Sickle cell disease.
  • Diabetes.
  • Malignancies.
  • Smoking and high alcohol consumption.
  • Elderly are more prone to deficiency.

Sign and symptoms:

  • Reduced appetite.
  • Retarded growth.
  • Atrophy (shrinkage) of sexual organs.
  • Loss of hair.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Repiratory tract infection.
  • Keratosis (desquamation) of tongue.
  • Skin affections.
  • Dwarfism.
  • Cognitive impairment.
  • Infertility- low sperm count.
  • Delayed healing of wounds.
  • Decreased taste acuity.
  • Deficiency during pregnancy can cause abnormal labor and retarded fetal growth.
  • Increased risk of infection.

Dietary management:
Consume foods rich in zinc: zinc is present in wide variety of foods especially along with proteins. Vegetarian diet contains less zinc compared to meat based diet. Best sources of zinc are -

  • Beef, crabmeat, oysters, lamb, pork, turkey, salmon, shellfish, chicken, clams, lobster, milk, yoghurt and cheese cheddar.
  • Whole wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, spinach, lentils, beans, lima beans, rye bread, peas and baked potatoes. Meat, eggs and seafood.
  • Other sources of zinc are - green leafy vegetables, sea plants, japanese sea plants, yeast, nuts - cashews, almonds and peanuts, seeds - sesame and pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are one of the concentrated sources of zinc in vegetarian food.
  • Only 20% of the zinc present in diet is absorbed by our body, dietary fibers and phytic acid present in food inhibits absorption of zinc. Phytic acid and fiber are fond in foods like - bran, whole grain cereals, pulses and nuts.
  • Cooking process can reduce the effects of phytic acid and fibers on the absorption of zinc.
  • Ferment whole grains as enzymatic actions of yeast reduces the levels of phytic acid and thus absorption of zinc is adequate.
2 people found this helpful

Book appointment with top doctors for Infertility treatment

View fees, clinic timings and reviews