2 Symptoms and Treatment Options for Zinc Deficiency

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Zinc is a vital micronutrient needed to be healthy. It’s crucial for the proper function of the thyroid gland, digestion, wound healing, a good immune system, and proper mood and sleep. Likewise, there are three leading causes of zinc deficiency. The first is not having enough zinc in one’s diet. The second is the loss of excess zinc from the body, such as through lack of zinc absorption. And third is by having chronic conditions such as alcohol addiction or cancer.

As zinc is essential for the body, some people lack zinc in their bodies. More than one billion people, or about 17% of all people worldwide, have a dietary zinc deficiency. Unbeknown to most people, zinc deficiency may lead to various side effects, such as a lower sense of taste and smell, hair loss, and reduced alertness.

As zinc deficiency is worrisome, finding out about some of its symptoms and treatment options is vital to ensure that you are more ready if you or your loved ones lack zinc. To learn more about the symptoms and treatments options for zinc deficiency, read on.


Zinc is vital for numerous functions and operations of our body. It is particularly essential for cell growth and immune functions. Therefore, it is significant to know the signs and symptoms of zinc deficiency. To help you, here are the symptoms of zinc deficiency that you shouldn’t miss:

1. Canker Sores

Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, are small and painful sores that grow within the mouth. This type of sore can be found inside your cheek or lip, on or under the tongue, on the part of the soft palate, or at the base of the gums. It can appear individually or in groups and can happen repeatedly.

A lack of nutrients can trigger a canker sore. Deficiency in folic acid, iron, or calcium can cause a canker sore to appear. In particular, lack of zinc is also a factor. Aside from this, canker sores can also be caused by having a weak immune system. Zinc is a mineral that boosts the immune system. Not having enough zinc may delay your immune system’s work in fighting off the bacteria that cause canker sores.

Other factors that may cause the appearance of a canker sore are:

  • Stress/Injury
  • Vitamin Deficiency
  • Hypersensitivity To Specific Fruits Or Vegetables
  • Hormonal Changes

If you want to know more about this type of sore along with some ways to treat it, you can check this excellent guide to cankers.

2. Weight Gain

Fewer individuals are aware that zinc has a significant influence on your body weight, and there are many reasons why zinc has such an impact. The primary reason is that zinc is vital for the thyroid gland to function normally. Zinc deficiency can reduce the secretion of thyroid hormones, affecting the body’s regular metabolism and resting metabolic rate. This scenario can lead to problems with burning fat.

Another reason zinc can affect physical weight is that lack of zinc, particularly in males, can result in reduced testosterone (a significant hormone for fat burning and the growth and maintenance of the muscles). Moreover, it can reduce muscular endurance, strength, and performance. So, if you want to get lean, one step is to have more zinc in your daily diet.


Now that we tackled some symptoms, here are two treatment options that you can do to address zinc deficiency:

A) Have A Proper Diet

To treat zinc deficiency for an extended period, you should begin with changing your daily diet. You can eat oysters that contain a high concentration of zinc per serving. Three ounces of oysters alone provide 74mg of zinc which is more than what a typical adult requires to consume in a day. Likewise, most foods contain less zinc than oysters, but having a good diet can give you the needed zinc intake. For instance, almonds contain 0.9 mg of zinc per ounce serving, and pork chops contain 2.9 mg of zinc per three ounces of serving.

Other foods rich in zinc are:

  • Seeds
  • Poultry
  • Wild Rice
  • Fish
  • Yogurt
  • Milk
  • Different kinds of seafood like crab and lobster

If you’re a vegetarian, it might be harder to get the needed amount of zinc from the foods you choose to eat. Therefore, you can consider having cashews, peas, and baked beans as an alternative.

B) Take Supplements

One way to immediately treat zinc deficiency is to take multivitamin supplements containing zinc or supplements that only contain such nutrients. You can also take cold medicines, such as throat lozenges with zinc, but keep in mind that you should only take cold medication if you are sick.

Likewise, there are other points to consider regarding supplements having zinc:

  • Your doctor may prescribe you a zinc supplement that is two to five times the recommended daily dose of zinc.
  • Zinc intake is usually limited to 40 mg per day for adults and 4 mg per day for children younger than six months.
  • Pregnant women should have 12 mg of zinc per day, and women who breastfeed should have 13 mg per day of the said micronutrient.

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Zinc, along with minerals and nutrients, is vital for our health and well-being. Therefore, having zinc deficiency can be problematic, leading to undesired symptoms such as canker sore and weight loss. With that said, it is vital to know the treatment options for zinc deficiency. Some ways include changing one’s regular diet and having supplements containing zinc.

Altogether, remember the information above so that you can determine if you have zinc deficiency and get help through some treatments. You can also consider consulting your doctor to maximize your treatment options.

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Hugh S. Briggs has been a nutritionist for five years. He writes articles related to health and nutrition and has created a course solely about nutrition. When he’s alone, he loves to have his favorite tea and is interested in reading his favorite book.

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