Zinc is one of the most important minerals for our body. If our bodies didn’t get the right amount of zinc daily, we would be impaired on a cellular level, and other signs of weakness would start to show. For the human body, zinc is a crucial mineral that can help our immune system combat infections, and it can also help your body create the healthy proteins needed for your bones.
But even though our body does not require vast quantities of zinc to function correctly, it can still be possible for a person to have a zinc deficiency. When a person starts experiencing a zinc deficiency, they feel its symptoms. But before we get busy understanding how you can notice a zinc deficiency in your body, you need to understand why its vital for your bodily functions.
The Functions of Zinc in Our Body
There are almost 100 enzymes in our body that rely on zinc in our body. These enzymes react with chemical molecules in our body to perform reactions that are essential for our body to survive. This way, not only does zinc help you look more energized, but it is also essential at the core cellular level.
Here are some of the most important functions zinc does for our body:
- It boosts our body’s immune system’s functions
- As our bodies grow older and grow bigger, our cells divide to facilitate growth. If our bodies did not have zinc, it would almost be impossible for our cells to split.
- Additionally, zinc also plays an important part in maintaining our sense of smell and taste. When you have a deficiency of zinc, the receptors in your nose can stop working or weaken your sense of smell to create a problem.
- And lastly, zinc is also important when a person gets injured. An abundance of zinc can make sure that your wounds heal quickly.
And finally, yes! Zinc does support growth, and it is absolutely vital for children at a growing age. That is why it is crucial that pregnant women have zinc in their bodies. It is also important to remember that our bodies are unable to store zinc. That is why all of the zinc we get is through the food we consume. To make sure your body is rich in zinc, you need to consume a lot of foods that have an abundance of zinc.
How Do I Know If I Have a Deficiency of Zinc?
Since zinc is essential to the functions of our body, you can start noticing the deficiency of zinc by the way your body responds to normal daily life functions. Some of the most common zinc deficiency symptoms are:
- Loss of appetite. This symptom stems from a person’s inability to smell and taste. When a person can’t taste food as accurately as they should, they lose their appetite and start consuming food a lot less often.
- The above symptom causes malnutrition in a person’s body. Since they aren’t consuming the essential nutrients their body needs to operate; slower growth can be expected.
- Another common symptom of zinc deficiency is a weaker immune system. Small problems like a cold or even a paper cut will take your body a lot of time to heal.
Some other symptoms you can notice because of a zinc deficiency are:
- Feeling lethargic
- Weird taste sensations
- Hair loss
- Wounds not healing quick enough
- Sudden weight loss
- Slowed sexual maturity
- Lesions on eyes and skin
Another symptom that men and young boys can face is the inability of their bodies to produce testosterone. Because of this, young boys can go through the phase of puberty for a longer than normal time, which can result in slower growth. When the human body (male or female) goes through puberty, our bodies go through a slowed process of growth.
So naturally, if the process of puberty goes on for an extended amount of time, slower growth can be expected.
What are Causes Behind the Deficiency?
Like we said earlier, a zinc deficiency is common in a lot of people (1.1 billion worldwide) because our bodies are unable to store zinc. Since we can only consume the zinc our body needs, getting an adequate amount can be a problem for many people.
That is why the three most common reasons a zinc deficiency can happen are:
- Not getting enough zinc through your daily diet
- Losing a huge amount of zinc from your body because you can’t absorb it
- People with chronic conditions have problems consuming zinc, too
Other conditions that can cause a zinc deficiency are:
- Alcohol addiction
- Cellac disease
- Chronic liver disease
- Sickle cell disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Pancreatic disease
- Chronic kidney disease
Older people are at the risk of getting a zinc deficiency, too, since they can’t eat a lot of foods because of their illnesses. Their increased consumption of medicines can stop their body from absorbing zinc, too.