10 Zinc Deficiency Symptoms

10 Zinc Deficiency Symptoms

If you are always struck by a seemingly recurrent infection or disease, or that your wounds seem not to heal, or if you are suffering from acne breakouts, hair loss, or are having issues with your digestion, you might be having a lack of optimal zinc level in your body. There are actually various zinc deficiency symptoms one should consider to check whether or not their daily zinc consumption should be increased, or even decreased. This condition affects roughly 12% of the Americans but it is even more felt in developing countries where a below average family finds it hard to sustain the daily recommendation of the nutrient. Those who are trying to maintain a certain dietary program, perhaps to lose weight. Those who are vegetarians. Those women who are pregnant or are lactating. Even the teenagers experiencing a growth spurt and puberty. Especially the older people who have far more risk of having a zinc deficiency. They are the types of people who are basically at risk, though a serious case of zinc deficiency is rare. Zinc consumption can be increased by eating the right amount of zinc-rich foods such as oysters, meat and poultry, seeds and nuts, legumes, oatmeals and others. Of course, consulting your doctor is always an utmost priority, especially if you plan to take zinc supplementation along with these alternative options.

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10 Zinc Deficiency Symptoms

10 Zinc Deficiency Symptoms

Weakened Immune System

A weakened immunity could be considered a primary sign since it affects other zinc deficiency symptoms in one way or another. Zinc is vital for various immune functions including the development and differentiation of T-cells into white blood cells and apoptosis, where biochemical activities cause cell changes and demise through a programmed cell death. Once the immune system is impaired, various complications can take places such as the development of gastrointestinal, respiratory and other serious infections, diabetes, various neurological disorders, autoimmune diseases, and cardiovascular diseases among others. Aside from becoming more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections, another implication of a compromised immunity is the need for a longer time for your wounds to heal as the body depends on zinc to repair cells and tissues. Boost Immune System: Top 20 Immune Boosting Foods

Leaky Gut Syndrome

Intestinal permeability, simply known as a leaky gut syndrome or just leaky gut, is a digestive condition where undigested food particles, along with waste products and bacteria “leak” or get into the bloodstream due to a damaged lining of the small intestine. This will initiate an immune response, nutrient malabsorption, chronic inflammatory conditions, allergies, thyroid problems, and other health issues. This could also be one of the zinc deficiency symptoms since it’s been proven that zinc supplementation can tighten the intestinal or gut wall and help settle alterations in intestinal permeability. More than sustaining the integrity of the intestinal wall, zinc could also aid in healing a leaky gut. How to Cure Leaky Gut Syndrome with Diet


Diarrhea is one of the most common zinc deficiency symptoms, as with other nutrient inadequacies. A weakened immunity as discussed above can make people, especially children, more vulnerable to certain bacterial infections like Escherichia coli, or simply E. coli, which in turn can lead to diarrhea. Diarrhea is also a cause of zinc deficiency; zinc absorption is either reduced due to certain dietary conditions or it is being eliminated from the body through the gastrointestinal tract, the skin, or via urine by certain gastrointestinal disorders. This affects the intestinal transport and absorption of water and electrolytes that are essential for proper digestion.

Poor Mental and Psychological Functioning

Cognitive impairments such as in learning are considered zinc deficiency symptoms. Even a reduced ability to feel and experience pleasure, called hedonic tone, can also be an effect which increases the risk of anhedonia, a kind of psychological condition. Behavioral issues like lethargy and irritability are also linked with a low zinc level. In addition to this are neurodevelopmental disorders—mental conditions affecting those in the developmental period like infants and children—such as ADHD or Attention Deficit – Hyperactivity Disorder and motor disorders. The risk of clinical depression is also increased, along with anxiety and panic disorder, and schizophrenia—a serious mental disorder characterized by hallucination, delusions, and disorganized speech and behavior. The effect of zinc therapy in the cognitive decline of Alzheimer’s disease meanwhile has been positive so far in recent studies. Of course, these disorders are a combination of different factors. But certainly, zinc deficiency is one of them.

Stunted Growth

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that zinc deficiencies among children with stunted growth are widespread especially in countries where a child may not get the appropriate daily nutrition he/she daily needs. Their meta-analyses of numerous studies revealed a positive correlation between zinc supplementation and linear growth, which means a child grows by the same required amount at each time step with adequate zinc intake. Taken into consideration zinc’s role in cell growth and metabolism, it’s understandable then that a deficiency restricts growth while decreasing immunity against infections too (as discussed in item no. 1). Serious zinc deficiency is mostly not a concern in affluent countries. The same cannot be said though in developing ones.

Disturbance in Fertility and Pregnancy

A reduced testosterone level can be attributed to zinc deficiency. Other minerals like magnesium and B-vitamins assist in zinc absorption, helping convert free cholesterol to testosterone in the process. Otherwise, zinc deficiency may lead to hypogonadism, the reduction of hormonal secretion by the gonads (testes and ovaries), and thus, delaying puberty and other sexual development. This also means an increased risk of infertility as zinc proves to be vital in an efficient reproductive system. Zinc deficiency symptoms also include negative effects on pregnancy such as hemorrhage, placental abruption, and prolonged labor. The growth and development of the child will also be affected by zinc deficiency during this period of crucial metabolic processes. Pregnancy Diet: Best Foods to Eat During Pregnancy

Hair and Skin Issues

Inflammatory skin issues like acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema are all zinc deficiency symptoms, making zinc an important home remedy for enhancing and maintaining skin care. Knowing also that skin cells largely depend on the ability of this trace mineral to act as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent makes it all the more appealing if you’re into getting beautiful skin. The bacteria and excess oil that causes acne breakout can be reduced by zinc, which should, of course, be accompanied by changing certain habits that might be a factor, such as diets and makeup use. Better consult your dermatologist. Bald patches, a thinning hair, and hair loss are also zinc deficiency symptoms since the mineral basically supports thicker and fuller hair growth. Zinc deficiency is also linked to hypothyroidism which, in turn, can cause hair loss especially when prolonged.

Impairments in the Basic Senses

Zinc deficiency symptoms include a disturbance in your basic senses. When it comes to your vision, an insufficiency of the mineral can lead to night blindness, though this usually occurs along with other nutritional deficiencies like vitamin A. Speaking of which, zinc aids in transporting the said vitamin from the liver to the retina, where a high concentration of zinc is contained. This will generate protective pigments in your eyes to help keep your vision clear. Zinc has also been proven to effectively improve the basic sense of tasting among those suffering from taste disorders by stimulating a brain region responsible for food intake. The difficulty in tasting foods, however, occurs particularly among the older adults, due to being more susceptible to zinc deficiency. Finally, a certain study found out that those with low zinc levels are more likely to be affected by severe ringing in the ears and even hearing loss. By acting as antioxidants, zinc helps fight inflammation in the inner ear, improving your sense of hearing as a result.


Allergies, one of the zinc deficiency symptoms, result from a damaging immune response by the body to environmental agents, called allergens, like fur, pollen, dust, and even certain types of food. Symptoms include a runny nose, sinus congestion, sneezing, and itchy eyes and throat. Medications in the form of antihistamines can help relieve these symptoms but in addition to distressing side effects such as headaches or drowsiness. This is why some go for natural methods such as incorporating zinc in their diet. Zinc deficiency actually allows the release of histamine from being stored in the body, making you more sensitive to allergens and producing the symptoms of allergies. It’s also important to manage stress since it can cause adrenal fatigue which in turn aggravates zinc deficiency. As an immunity booster, zinc alleviates asthma too, a condition commonly associated with allergies.

Oral Diseases, Loss of Appetite, and Sleep Disturbance

The last sign among the zinc deficiency symptoms in this list manifests as oral diseases such as 1) white tongue coating caused by bacteria, dead cells, and other debris getting stuck in between the papillae, which is often inflamed; 2) oral ulceration or ulcers on the mucous membrane of the mouth, occurring with other diseases though there is mostly no grave underlying root; 3) stomatitis which is the inflammation of the oral cavity; and in serious cases 4) burning mouth syndrome, a painful situation, or angular cheilitis, the inflammation of one or both corners of the mouth. Zinc deficiency also contributes to the loss of appetite. In fact, zinc has been used as part of treatment for anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder characterized by serious weight loss. Other than that, zinc lastly influences the synthesis and regulation of melatonin, a hormone that helps improve the quality of sleep especially for those suffering from various types of sleep disturbance like insomnia.