Zinc deficiency is the inadequate amounts of zinc in body cells. This deficiency affects the function of the testes, liver, muscles, structure of bones, teeth, hair and skin. Zinc is vital in the chemical reactions necessary for normal body function. This includes immune function and skin healing. It is most common in children during periods of rapid growth (10 to 18 years), but can affect all ages.
Causes of Zinc Deficiency
Zinc deficiency is usually caused by excessive consumption of substances that bind zinc. This prevents its absorption from the gastrointestinal tract. These substance include calcium, vitamin D, high fiber diet and phytate enzyme (found in whole-meal bread). Other causes are surgical removal of any part of the gastrointestinal tract, especially the stomach, parasite infestation in the gastrointestinal tract, and excessive milk consumption in preschool children.
Signs and Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency
Symptoms of zinc deficiency include 2 or more of the following: poor appetite and growth, sensations of unpleasant tastes and odors, decreased senses of taste and smell, decreased sex drive, darkening of skin all over the body, sparse hair growth, and deformed nails.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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