What Effect Does Zinc Deficiency Have On The Body?

Zinc Deficiency | Dietary Sources, Causes, Signs & Symptoms (ex. Hair Loss), Diagnosis, Treatment by JJ Medicine

Zinc is everywhere in our bodies

More than just the readily available cold lozenges, Zinc is more vital than many think. Zinc is in our organs, secretions, tissues, and fluids. 83% of Zinc in our body is in our bone and skeletal muscles.

Our body, however, cannot produce or store zinc on its own. We need to have a steady supply of zinc in our food. Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of Zinc for men is 11 mg and 8 mg for women.

Fortunately for us, most of the common foods we eat naturally contain Zinc. You can get your daily supply of Zinc from poultry and beef.

Other significant sources of Zinc are nuts, dairy products, seafood, beans, and nuts.

Zinc is essential for several functions in the body:

  • Growth and development
  • DNA synthesis
  • Protein synthesis
  • Immune function
  • Enzymatic reactions
  • Gene expression

Why is it important?

After Iron, Zinc is the second most plentiful mineral in our body. It is a dynamic mineral that the body uses in innumerable ways.

Involved in various parts of cellular metabolism, Zinc is essential for the catalytic activity of nearly 100 enzymes. It helps our bodies in:

  • Enzyme activities
  • Immune function
  • DNA synthesis
  • Taste and smell
  • Insulin production
  • Vitamin A production
  • Thyroid function

Zinc deficiency risks

Acne and breakouts

According to research, taking the right zinc supplements and ointments can help clear up outbreaks. The anti-inflammatory effects of zinc help to keep oil and bacteria at bay on the skin.

Although tons of things can cause acne, if you’ve tried everything there is and they don’t work, you might have to consider zinc deficiency as a factor.

Weak immune system

Without Zinc, the body is vulnerable to diseases. Zinc deficiency slows down recovery from illnesses.

Zinc helps shorten common colds by up to 33%. It stimulates specific immune cells and diminishes oxidative stress.

With older adults taking Zinc supplements, research shows how infections are significantly reduced, and an immune response is promoted.

Slow-healing wounds

If we don’t have enough Zinc in our body, we’ll be susceptible to bacterial infections.  Our body depends on Zinc to repair tissues. Without it, superficial scrapes or cuts will take longer to heal.

Our skin holds around 5% of our body’s Zinc content. Wounds recover faster with Zinc supplements. Hospitals use Zinc in treating burns, skin injuries, and certain ulcers.

It is a critical part of collagen synthesis and inflammatory response; that’s why it is essential in the healing process.

Risk of heart problems and other diseases

When we don’t get enough Zinc, our body won’t be able to fend off damaging free radicals. This results in inflammation spikes, increasing the risk of chronic diseases.

According to a study, Zinc plays a vital role in regulating our heartbeats. This could theoretically fight against arrhythmia or heart rate and rhythm problems.

Researchers found that a 12-week zinc and magnesium supplement helped lower insulin and improve HDL or good cholesterol in a separate study.

Hypothyroidism and hair loss

A study reveals how Zinc deficiency is tied to poor thyroid health, a common cause of Alopecia or hair loss.

Zinc plays a part in converting thyroid hormone T4 to T3. Zinc, alongside Selenium, is valuable in improving hormone levels and thyroid function.

Researchers observed a relatively positive effect of Zinc on thyroid function of women with hypothyroidism.

Poor eye health

Zinc aids in taking vitamin A from the liver up to the retina to produce melanin, a pigment that protects the eyes. Without its protection, our eyesight will weaken.

Zinc also lessens other risks of age-related diseases like weak vision, gloomy cataracts, and poor night vision.

Other deficiency risks 

The list goes on for sicknesses and diseases associated with a lack of Zinc. Some of them are:

  • Abnormal tastes
  • Appetite loss
  • Reduced pregnancy outcomes
  • Impaired maternal health
  • Decreased growth and development
  • Mental lethargy
  • Delayed sexual maturation


High rates of mortality among children are associated with acute diarrhea.

These children who already have a weak immune system because of a lack of Zinc are prone to bacterial infections, including what could have caused their diarrhea.

On the contrary, research shows that a steady dose of zinc supplements for malnourished children with diarrhea helps speed up their recovery.

The WHO and UNICEF now recommend zinc supplements to treat acute diarrhea in infants six months and below.

We need Zinc

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to keep our bodies healthy now more than ever. We may not be aware of Zinc’s importance in our body before.

We must make sure we’re getting the daily dosage our body needs. Stock up on Zinc and don’t wait for you to experience the risks mentioned above.