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Zinc Deficiency - How To Detect If You Are Suffering From It?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Sajeev Kumar 92% (38013 ratings)
C.S.C, D.C.H, M.B.B.S
General Physician, Alappuzha  •  34 years experience
Zinc Deficiency - How To Detect If You Are Suffering From It?

Zinc deficiency is one epidemic that people are mostly unaware of. As per the data shared by World Health Organization, around 31% of the world population is suffering from zinc deficiency. The problem is also ranked 5th in the leading factors that cause several diseases. It is also a primary reason why underdeveloped nations suffer from high mortality rate as zinc deficiency is associated with child pneumonia and diarrhea.

Every person, young or old, needs to have a regular intake of zinc for a healthy life, which it is known as an essential nutrient. It is also present in every cell, tissue, bone and fluid in the human body; zinc is especially prevalent in male semen and prostate glands.

Common Symptoms Of Zinc Deficiency

Unfortunately, millions of people suffering from zinc deficiency are unaware of their condition. However, looking out for certain key indicators can help in identifying the problem before it becomes severe. Here are the common symptoms of zinc deficiency that everyone must look out for:

  1. Poor Neurological Function - Zinc is an absolute necessity for neuropsychologic performance and growth. Low levels of zinc lead to attention disorders in infants, which may persist till the adulthood. But, it doesn’t mean you will start pumping your kids with an overdose of zinc. It has been found that zinc is absorbed best with other nutrients and especially when taken with whole foods.
  2. Weak Immunity - Your immune function works best when it has an adequate amount of zinc. It is vital for the growth of T-Cell and differentiating white blood cells to keep diseases at bay. Zinc is also necessary for the structural component of the hormone receptors. They contribute exponentially to have a healthy and balanced immune function.
  3. Diarrhea & Leaky Gut -  Impaired immunity causes zinc deficiency diarrhea, which can become a persistent health problem. Every year diarrhea affects nearly 2 million children worldwide, and most of them are suspected to have a zinc deficiency and bacterial infection. Leaky gut, also called intestinal permeability can lead to a slew of health problems like skin allergies, thyroid problems, and nutrient malabsorption.

Zinc Rich Foods You Must Include In Your Diet

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms shared above, then you might be suffering from the zinc deficiency. To improve the level of zinc in your body, you can either take all natural zinc supplements. But, supplements usually contain several forms of zinc like zinc sulfate, zinc acetate and more. Thus, it is better to include the below-shared foods in your diet, which contain a high amount of zinc:

  1. Pumpkin seeds –1/2 cup: 8.4 mg
  2. Grass-fed Beef – 4 oz: 5.2 mg
  3. Lamb – 4 oz: 5.2 mg
  4. Cashews – 1/2 cup: 3.8 mg
  5. Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans) – 1 cup cooked: 2.5 mg
  6. Mushrooms – 1 cup cooked: 1.9 mg
  7. Chicken – 4 oz: 1.6 mg
  8. Kefir or Yogurt – 1 cup: 1.4 mg
  9. Spinach – 1 cup cooked: 1.4 mg
  10. Cocoa powder – 1 Tbsp: 0.4 mg

    If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a general physician.

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