Zinc Deficiency

General text about the lack of minerals can be found here.


Zinc is a chemical element that occurs in our bodies only in trace amounts. However, it has a significant importance and it is involved in many metabolic reactions. Therefore, its deficiency can lead to many complications. Larger amount of zinc is found in meat, liver, yeast, eggs and dairy products. Recommended daily zinc intake for an average adult is about 15 to 20 milligrams.


The cause of zinc deficiency is often inadequate dietary intake, which is often related to chronic alcoholism and patients with anorexia nervosa. In addition, zinc deficiency may be related to malabsorption in digestive tract and various liver and kidney diseases.


Zinc deficiency can cause fatigue, mood swings and psychical troubles. The patients often complain about digestive problems such as loss of appetite and diarrhea, about dry skin, sore mouth corners, brittle nails, brittle hair, impaired wound healing and weakened immunity manifesting with recurrent infections. Women in pregnancy with severe deficiency of selenium may experience many complications including premature birth or stillbirth.


Zinc can be administered in combination with other minerals in various food supplements. However, daily intake of zinc that is several times higher than the recommended dose may cause overdose with abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Excessive zinc intake also disrupts copper absorption in digestive tract and so it can lead to copper deficiency.


Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Contact: jiri.stefanek@seznam.cz
 Sources: basic text sources