What is zinc deficiency?

Zinc is an important mineral required for a number of bodily functions involving energy and metabolism. One of its most important roles is in supporting our immune system, which protects us from pathogens, infections, and disease. Zinc also plays a role in carbohydrate breakdown (which supplies energy), as well as growth, division, and reproduction of our cells.

Zinc Deficiency Spotlight

A healthy, balanced diet can help provide necessary minerals and vitamins. Zinc is found in protein-rich foods, such as beans, red meat (beef and lamb), and peanuts. If you are deficient in zinc, it can also be taken as a supplement.

Because zinc is so important across numerous functions, a deficiency of zinc can cause a host of problems. People with zinc deficiency can experience vision and hearing loss, susceptibility to infections, delayed sexual maturation (in men), stunted growth, hair loss, appetite and weight loss, dry skin, and anemia. Proper zinc intake is especially important to the development of growing children.

Extreme zinc deficiency can be dangerous to the health and wellness of growing children. Seek prompt medical care if you suspect your child is not getting adequate amounts of zinc and is experiencing symptoms of delayed or stunted growth, frequent infections, and appetite and weight loss. These symptoms could also indicate other serious conditions requiring medical attention.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of zinc deficiency?

Zinc is essential for growth, cell division and reproduction, blood cell development, and the senses. As a result, if you are deficient in zinc, your symptoms can affect many of your bodily systems and functions.... Read more about zinc deficiencysymptoms

CAUSES

What causes zinc deficiency?

Zinc deficiency is caused by inadequate levels of zinc in the diet. Zinc is an important mineral required for a number of functions involving energy and metabolism. One of its most significant roles is in supporting the immune system, which protects us from pathogens, infections and disease. Zinc also plays a role in carbohydrate breakdown (which supplies energy), as well as in cell growth, division and reproduction.... Read more about zinc deficiencycauses

TREATMENTS

How is zinc deficiency treated?

Zinc deficiency is treated by supplementation to restore amounts of zinc in your diet. This may include zinc supplements as well as increasing or introducing foods that are rich in zinc and following recommended dietary guidelines.... Read more about zinc deficiencytreatments

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Metabolic System