Mini Review - Insights in Nutrition and Metabolism (2023) Volume 7, Issue 3
Zinc deficiency: Effects on health and ways to improve intake.
Department of Nutrition, University of California Davis, Davis, California, USA
- *Corresponding Author:
- Ryan Brown
Department of Nutrition
University of California Davis, Davis
Received:19-Apr-2023,Manuscript No. AAINM-23-98214; Editor assigned: 22-Apr-2023, PreQC No. AAINM-23-98214(PQ); Reviewed:08-May-2023, QC No. AAINM-23-98214; Revised:11-May-2023, Manuscript No. AAINM-23-98214(R); Published:18-May-2023, DOI: 10.35841/aainm- 7.3.145
Citation: Brown R. Zinc deficiency: Effects on health and ways to improve intake. Insights Nutr Metab. 2023;7(3):145
Zinc is a crucial mineral that plays a vital role in numerous bodily functions, including immune function, wound healing, and cell growth and development. A zinc deficiency can result from inadequate dietary intake, certain medical conditions, or malabsorption syndromes. Symptoms of zinc deficiency can include impaired immune function, delayed wound healing, hair loss, and diarrhea. Long-term zinc deficiency can lead to more severe complications, such as impaired growth and development in children, cognitive impairment, and an increased risk of infections. Increasing dietary intake of zinc-rich foods, such as seafood, meats, and legumes, is often the best way to improve zinc intake. Zinc supplements may also be recommended in some cases, particularly for individuals with specific medical conditions that interfere with zinc absorption. However, it is important to talk to a healthcare provider before taking any supplements, as excessive zinc intake can also have negative effects on the body. Early detection and treatment of zinc deficiency are essential to prevent complications and promote optimal health.
Zinc is an essential mineral required by the body in small amounts to maintain a healthy immune system, support growth and development, and aid in wound healing. However, zinc deficiency is a prevalent condition, particularly in developing countries, where it is estimated to affect up to two billion people worldwide. In this article, we will discuss the effects of zinc deficiency on health and ways to improve zinc intake.
Effects of zinc deficiency on health
Zinc deficiency can lead to a wide range of health problems, including impaired immune function, stunted growth, and developmental delays. Here are some of the most common effects of zinc deficiency on health:
Impaired immune function
Zinc plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy immune system. It helps the body produce and activate immune cells, such as T cells, which fight off infections and other diseases. A deficiency in zinc can weaken the immune system, making it more susceptible to infections, such as pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria.
Delayed growth and development
Zinc is essential for normal growth and development in children. It is required for DNA synthesis, cell division, and protein synthesis, which are all critical processes for growth. A deficiency in zinc can result in stunted growth, delayed sexual maturation, and impaired cognitive development.
Delayed growth and development
Zinc plays a critical role in maintaining healthy skin. It is required for wound healing, collagen synthesis, and the formation of the skin barrier. A deficiency in zinc can lead to skin problems such as dermatitis, acne, and slow wound healing.
Loss of appetite and taste
Zinc is also required for the sense of taste and smell. A deficiency in zinc can lead to a loss of appetite, which can result in weight loss and malnutrition.
Ways to improve zinc intake
Zinc deficiency can be prevented and treated by ensuring adequate zinc intake through diet and supplementation. Here are some ways to improve zinc intake:
Eat zinc-rich foods
One of the easiest ways to increase zinc intake is by consuming zinc-rich foods. Foods that are high in zinc include oysters, beef, lamb, pork, chicken, beans, nuts, and whole grains. Vegetarians and vegans may need to consume more zinc-rich plant-based foods to meet their daily zinc requirements.
Consider zinc supplementation
Zinc supplements are available in various forms, including capsules, tablets, and lozenges. They are particularly useful for individuals who have difficulty meeting their daily zinc requirements through diet alone. However, it is essential to speak with a healthcare professional before taking zinc supplements, as excessive intake can lead to toxicity
Cooking methods can also affect zinc absorption from foods. Boiling, steaming, and baking foods can decrease the amount of zinc in foods, while frying and roasting can increase zinc bioavailability. Therefore, choosing the right cooking method can help increase zinc absorption from foods.
Avoid zinc antagonists
Certain foods and substances can interfere with zinc absorption, such as phytates found in grains and legumes, calcium, and iron supplements. Consuming high amounts of these substances can decrease zinc absorption from foods. Therefore, avoiding or reducing the intake of these substances can help increase zinc absorption.
Optimize gut health
Gut health is essential for optimal zinc absorption. Certain gut conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and leaky gut can interfere with zinc absorption. Therefore, optimizing gut health through a healthy diet and lifestyle can help improve zinc absorption. Zinc deficiency is a prevalent condition that can have significant health consequences. It is particularly common in developing countries where access to a varied and balanced diet is limited. However, zinc deficiency can be prevented and treated by ensuring adequate zinc intake through diet and supplementation. Consuming zinc-rich foods, considering zinc supplements, choosing the right cooking methods, avoiding zinc antagonists, and optimizing gut health are all ways to improve zinc intake. It is essential to note that while zinc deficiency is a prevalent condition, excessive zinc intake can also lead to toxicity. Symptoms of zinc toxicity include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, and dizziness. Therefore, it is crucial to speak with a healthcare professional before taking zinc supplements or making significant dietary changes.
Zinc is an essential mineral required for optimal health. Zinc deficiency can lead to significant health consequences, including impaired immune function, delayed growth and development, skin problems, and loss of appetite and taste. However, adequate zinc intake through diet and supplementation can prevent and treat zinc deficiency. It is crucial to consult a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet or taking supplements.
- Yilmaz A, Ekiz H, Torun B, et al.Effect of different zinc application methods on grain yield and zinc concentration in wheat cultivars grown on zinc?deficient calcareous soils.J Plant Nutr. 1997;20(4-5):461-71.
- Lonnerdal B.Genetically modified plants for improved trace element nutrition.J Nutr. 2003;133(5):1490S-3S.
- Wolfe SA, Gibson RS, Gadowsky SL, et al.Zinc status of a group of pregnant adolescents at 36 weeks gestation living in southern Ontario.J Am Coll Nutr. 1994;13(2):154-64.
- Fontaine O.Effect of zinc supplementation on clinical course of acute diarrhoea.J Health Popul Nutr. 2001;19(4):339-46.
- Roohani N, Hurrell R, Wegmueller R, et al.Zinc and phytic acid in major foods consumed by a rural and a suburban population in central Iran.J Food Comp Anal. 2012;28(1):8-15.
Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref
Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref