ZINC: Importance, Deficiency Symptoms, and Source


Zinc is an essential mineral in our body and it is required to help our immune system work properly. Our body cannot make zinc on its own we have to be dependent on external food and sources to getting zinc in our body.

It has a vital role in the division of cells, cell growth, wound healing and helps in breaking down carbohydrates.

It is also needed for the smell and taste senses to work properly. Zinc requirements vary form depending upon the various stages our body goes through such as during pregnancy, infancy, childhood, and during certain illnesses.

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Food Source

Here are some of the most common food source for Zinc.
  • Shellfish: Oysters, crab, mussels, lobster and clams.
    Shellfish are a good source of zinc and have low calories. Oysters contain a high amount than all the other types of shellfish.
  • Meat: Beef, pork, lamb and bison.
    Meat is a great source of zinc and is easily available in most parts of the world. We can get a good amount of meat in all kinds of meat including beef, lamb, pork. Red meat contains most as compared to other types of meat.
  • Poultry: Turkey and chicken.
  • Fish: Flounder, sardines, salmon and sole.
  • Legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, black beans, kidney beans.
    Legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and beans all contain substantial amounts of zinc.
  • Nuts and seeds: Pumpkin seeds, cashews, hemp seeds.
    Eating nuts such as pine nuts, peanuts, cashews, and almonds can boost your intake of zinc. Nuts also contain other healthy nutrients, including healthy fats and fiber, as well as a number of other vitamins and minerals.
  • Dairy products: Milk, yogurt and cheese.
    Dairy foods like cheese and milk provide a host of nutrients, including zinc. Milk and cheese are two notable sources, as they contain high amounts of bioavailable zinc, meaning most of the zinc in these foods can be absorbed by your body.
  • Eggs.
  • Whole grains: Oats, quinoa, brown rice.
  • Certain vegetables: Mushrooms, kale, peas, asparagus and beet greens. 

Source: Healthline

Deficiency Symptoms

Although severe deficiency is rare, it can occur in people with rare genetic mutations, breastfeeding infants whose mothers don’t have enough zinc, people with alcohol addictions and anyone taking certain immune-suppressing medications.

Symptoms of severe zinc deficiency include impaired growth and development, delayed sexual maturity, skin rashes, chronic diarrhea, impaired wound healing and behavioral issues .

zinc toxicity

Just as a deficiency in zinc can cause health complications, excessive intake can also lead to negative side effects. The most common cause of zinc toxicity is too much supplemental zinc, which can cause both acute and chronic symptoms.

Symptoms of toxicity include :

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Headaches
  • Reduced immune function
  • Decreased “good” HDL cholesterol levels
  • Ingesting too much zinc can also cause deficiencies in other nutrients.

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