Zinc is present in every cell in the human body, and plays a vital role in the operation of hundreds of hormones and enzymes necessary for life. It helps to keep the immune system working efficiently, and it’s an essential part of the cell-division process which supports normal growth, speeds healing, and reduces the effects of aging.
Despite zinc being the 10th most common element on the planet, an estimated 12 percent of Americans have a deficiency. This can lead to many ailments of varying severity.
Signs of a Zinc Deficiency
Zinc deficiency can show in a large number of ways affecting the entire body, including the following:
– Poor immune system functioning, with the sufferer seeming to pick up every illness that’s going around.
-Slower healing of wounds, including greater inflammation and a higher risk of infection.
-An increased tendency toward allergies, along with stronger symptoms that are more difficult to clear.
– Fatigue, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, and irritability. Severe deficiencies in childhood is thought to lead to disorders such as ADH D, but this has yet to be definitively established.
-Sleep disturbance and insomnia. Zinc plays a key role in the production and regulation of the sleep hormone melatonin.
– Hair thinning or even total loss.
– Reduction in the sensation of taste, leading to a loss of appetite and lower enjoyment of food. -Severe acne and other skin problems – Reduced fertility in both men and women.
A zinc deficiency that is left untreated over a long period is thought to contribute toward development of the following conditions:
-Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
-Serious vision problems, including the condition known as age-related macular degeneration.
– Prostatitis, or the inflammation of the prostate in older men
-Joint pains and rheumatoid arthritis.
Treating a Deficiency Through Diet Changes
Luckily, a zinc deficiency is relatively easy to deal with, as this common element is found in a wide variety of foods. Good dietary sources of zinc include:
-Seafood and shellfish, especially oysters, as well as lobster and crab.
-Meat of all kinds, but especially beef, pork, and poultry.
– Eggs, milk, and other dairy products.
– Legumes, including beans, peas, and pulses. – Dark chocolate, preferably unsweetened.
Should You Take Zinc Supplements?
If you can’t obtain enough zinc from your diet, then a reputable brand of supplements is an acceptable and effective alternative which will alleviate the problems deficiency causes.
Zinc is a vital part of so many of the human body’s systems that it on be difficult to spot a deficiency; the effects can show up in numerous ways, many of which can be confused with other problems. If you suspect you have a zinc deficiency, tackle any inadequacies in your diet and consider light doses of supplements.