Zinc deficiency: signs and treatment

Zinc deficiency: signs and treatment

Zinc deficiency: signs and treatment

Zinc deficiency causes various non-specific symptoms, so it is not easy to identify. We reveal typical signs and what helps.

What is zinc deficiency?

With a zinc deficiency, several symptoms occur, but they are difficult to classify - for example, hair loss and brittle fingernails. Zinc is an essential trace element, which means that the body cannot produce it itself. It must therefore be supplied via zinc supplements or the diet - primarily through meat consumption. About 20 percent of all adults in Germany suffer from a zinc deficiency.

Zinc requirements: What does the body need zinc for?

Zinc is involved in a variety of bodily processes - including the activation of the immune system, metabolism, and hormones. This is also one reason why zinc deficiency triggers such unspecific symptoms. And it is not as easy to detect as iron deficiency, for example. This is because there is a blood test for zinc deficiency, but it is unreliable - the deficiency only becomes noticeable in the blood when it is already very advanced.

Symptoms: How can I recognize a zinc deficiency?

There are indeed no symptoms that exclusively indicate a zinc deficiency. However, if several of the following symptoms occur, a zinc deficiency is obvious:

Hair falls out
Nails are brittle
High susceptibility to infections/colds
Wound healing is delayed
Taste and smell disorders
Fatigue
Lack of drive
Mood swings
concentration disorders
dry skin
dry eyes
increased blood sugar levels
The correct zinc value and causes: How does a zinc deficiency develop?
Most often, a zinc deficiency occurs when not enough zinc is consumed in the diet. Normally, healthy adult men need ten milligrams of zinc per day, women seven milligrams. For comparison: with 50 grams of Edam, one already takes in five milligrams of zinc. But in addition to diet, other factors or diseases can also trigger a zinc deficiency. These include:

Diabetes

Diseases of the liver, intestines, or stomach
increased alcohol consumption
Also, certain factors increase the need for zinc. These include:

Smoking

stress
diseases such as cancer
heavy sweating
Pregnant and breastfeeding women, the elderly, and children and adolescents generally have a higher need for zinc.

Treatment: What to do about a zinc deficiency?

If a disease is the cause of zinc deficiency, it must be treated first. Otherwise, the easiest way to take in zinc is to rely on foods that contain a lot of zinc. The following foods contain particularly high amounts of zinc:

Beef tenderloin
calf's liver
Nuts
Wheat germ
Oatmeal
Edam cheese
Lentils

Zinc supply through preparations

If the symptoms do not subside after one to two weeks, one can also try a course of zinc preparations. For this, 25 milligrams of zinc are taken daily for two to three weeks. But: This is best planned and completed under medical supervision. Because an overdose of zinc can also cause unpleasant side effects such as a metallic taste in the mouth, stomach, and intestinal complaints, or fever.


 

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