What Are the Signs of a Zinc Deficiency?

Medically Reviewed on 10/26/2021
zinc deficiencies
Symptoms of zinc deficiency include poor appetite, weaker immune system, slow wound healing, loss of taste and smell, and more.

The human body can adapt to a short-term, mild zinc deficiency by absorbing more from food and excreting less. Inadequate zinc intake, however, will impact bodily functions.

While zinc deficiency is uncommon among most people in the United States, it can have the following consequences:

  • Poor appetite
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Swollen tongue
  • Slow wound healing
  • Issues with the skin, such as acne and rashes
  • Weaker immune system (reduced resistance to infections)
  • Frequent allergies
  • Low libido and reduced sperm count
  • Distorted or discolored nails (white spots on fingernails)
  • Mood, sleep, and neurological issues
  • Gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea
  • Thinning and graying of hair
  • Eye lesions

Severe symptoms of zinc deficiency can include:

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Frequent infections
  • Stunted growth in children and adolescents
  • Hypogonadism in males, which is when the body does not produce enough testosterone
  • Skin lesions
  • Delayed sexual maturation

Canker sores, deformed nails, hair loss, and rashes are common signs and symptoms of zinc deficiency, which is thought to affect one-third of the world's population, making it a common global issue.

What are the benefits of zinc?

Zinc is one of the most important micronutrients for health and well-being because it is required for the proper operation of the following:

  • Thyroid gland
  • Digestion
  • Concentration, mood, and sleep
  • Wound healing
  • Healthy immune system
  • Sperm production
  • Prostate function

Zinc intake is required for the activity of more than 90 enzymes.

What are the risk factors of zinc deficiency?

People who follow a strict vegan or vegetarian diet could be more susceptible to zinc deficiency. This is because phytic acid, a naturally occurring substance found in plants and seeds, can bind to zinc and reduce its absorption.

Additionally, some people, such as those with diabetes, are also at a higher risk of having lower zinc levels.

Other risk factors of zinc deficiency may include:

Because the human body is not designed to generate or store zinc, it must be obtained from food or zinc supplements.


Next to red peppers, you can get the most vitamin C from ________________. See Answer

What are the treatment options for zinc deficiency?

Zinc deficiency does not have a specific treatment option. However, depending on the severity of the symptoms, the doctor may recommend the following:

  • Zinc supplements
    • Zinc deficiency can be treated with supplements found in pharmacies and health food stores, which are available as zinc-only pills, multivitamin supplements, and several cold treatments.
    • A doctor may prescribe a zinc supplement that is two to five times the recommended daily dose of zinc.
    • Zinc intake is typically limited to 40 mg per day for adults and 4 mg per day for children aged younger than six months.
  • Diet
    • Zinc is an important mineral for overall health and is abundant in oysters, crab, and lobster.
    • High-protein foods also contain zinc, such as red meat, fish, beans, lentils, and chickpeas.

A variety of physiological and other factors might cause zinc deficiency, so it is vital to talk to the doctor about the best and most precise therapy choices.

What are the signs and signs and symptoms of zinc toxicity?

Adults should consume no more than 40 mg of zinc per day. Most health experts agree that consuming large doses of zinc over a long time is probably dangerous.

People taking over the recommended amount of zinc may experience:

In the United States, zinc toxicity is uncommon. Individuals who take zinc supplements, however, may reach toxic levels. Excessive zinc supplementation can result in a copper deficiency.

Excess zinc intake can cause severe symptoms, such as:

A zinc deficiency occurs when people do not consume adequate zinc levels through their diet or if they have an underlying medical condition. A deficiency can be treated by taking supplements regularly and increasing the dietary intake of the mineral. To avoid zinc toxicity, however, one should monitor their intake closely.

Medically Reviewed on 10/26/2021
National Institutes of Health. Zinc. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/

Healthdirect. Zinc deficiency. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/zinc-deficiency

Oregon State University. Zinc. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/zinc