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Symptoms of Zinc Shortage Includes Hair Loss, Growth Problems, Impotence, Eye, Skin Problems

What Happens If Your Diet Is Short of Zinc?

First of all – does a shortage of zinc actually happen in Australia?  Research (source) from the Australian Bureau of Statistics says “YES”.Source:

This chart for the ABS shows that from the age of 9 years, males in Australia have a definite dietary deficiency.  In the 9 to 13 age group for boys, over one in four have a deficiency.   This increases dramatically in males as they age – reaching a 7 out of 10 level in men over 71 years old.

The deficiency in women is less common, but still considerable (see the pink in the chart).  This means that zinc is very definitely on the list to review every now and then.

Zinc Is VERY Important

It is needed for your immune system to function properly.  It play a huge role in cell division – which means that growth (and aging), wound healing and many other functions will be affected if you are short.

Zinc is needed for effective breakdown of carbohydrates and sugars – so may be involved in diabetes (it enhances the action of insulin) and digestion issues.  Low zinc may result in you having a craving for saltier, sweeter food.

It is needed for proper development during pregnancy, and may assist with you avoiding or recovering from a cold.

Zinc deficiency in both male and females may reduce fertility and also result in low libido.  It impairs testosterone production in men.

It is concentrated in our bones, liver, kidney and eyes.

Stress, acute trauma and infection can lead to a reduction in your blood Zinc levels.  And that reduction may lead to worsening of your stress if it continues.

The list of symptoms of zinc deficiency is long.  It includes:

  • Low energy
  • Diahrrhea
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Lower Immunity
  • Bad memory and inability to focus
  • Ringing in the ears
  • ADD symptoms
  • Slowed healing of wounds
  • Poor sleep quality

Sources of Zinc In Your Diet

Some dietary sources include (from high to low):

  1.   Pumpkin seeds
  2.   Lamb, beef
  3.   Cashews
  4.   Oysters
  5.   Chickpeas, lentils
  6.   Kefir and Yoghurt (real yogurt)
  7.   Mushrooms
  8.   Spinach
  9.   Chicken

Another thing to be aware of is that when you have more protein in your diet – you are more efficient at getting more zinc from your food.  Also know that if you have been taking Iron supplements – this will REDUCE your Zinc absorption.

White spots on nails
One way of identifying Zinc deficiency is with white lines on your finger nails.  These usually appear with a combination of stress and zinc shortage.  But – not everyone gets these white lines.  It is also important have any lines on your nails diagnosed by your GP – as there are several other source of nail markings.

The daily requirements for zinc range from 2.5mg per day for toddlers to 12 mg/day for men and 6.5mg per day for women.  (Source)

Zinc is mostly absorbed in the small intestine, which means there is the suggestion that you should any zinc supplements WITH FOOD – although research also suggests that when we are short of Zinc we become more efficient at absorbing it from food, very cool!

The best source of nutrients is a balanced diet.

The Super Clinic Pharmacy has a good range of zinc supplements, if you believe you may need to increase your uptake.  You can also arrange an appointment with our Dietitians at the Super Clinic.

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