Zinc deficiency - symptoms and therapy

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What exactly is zinc?

Zinc is an essential trace element for the metabolism. It is a component of many enzymes and fulfils many important key roles in the human body. Many biochemical processes in the body could not take place without zinc, the trace element is essential for life. Normally the body contains about two to four grams of it. However, because storage is only possible for a short time and the body cannot produce the trace element itself, it must be supplied through food.

Why is zinc very important for the body?

- contributes to the maintenance of normal skin
- contributes to a normal protein synthesis
- contributes to the maintenance of a normal testosterone level in the blood
- contributes to a normal carbohydrate metabolism
- contributes to the maintenance of normal hair and nails
- contributes to a normal metabolism of macronutrients
- contributes to this, to protect the cells from oxidative stress
- contributes to normal fatty acid metabolism
- contributes to normal fertility and reproduction
- contributes to normal cognitive function
- contributes to normal immune system function (physical defence)
- contributes to the maintenance of normal bones
- contributes to normal acid-base metabolism
- contributes to the maintenance of normal vision
- contributes to normal vitamin A metabolism
- contributes to normal DNA synthesis
- has a function in cell division

How do I recognize a zinc deficiency?

- Wound healing disorders
- dry scaly skin
- susceptibility to infections
- growth disorders of hair and nails
- hormonal disorders
- weakened immune system: more frequent colds, coughs, sore throats, flu-like infections
- general exhaustion
- increased blood sugar levels
- concentration disorders
- long-term fatigue

The zinc value can be determined with a blood test.

In which foods is zinc contained?

Animal food, fish and seafood contain larger amounts of zinc than vegetable food, especially offal contains a lot of zinc. The human body can process zinc from animal food better than that from vegetable food.

Top 10 zinc suppliers:

1. oysters
2. liver and meat
3. seeds
4. cheese
5. nuts
6. oat flakes
7. lentils
8. seeds
9. egg yolk
10. cocoa

Causes for a zinc deficiency

  • Malnutrition
  • Chronic diseases of liver/kidney
  • intestinal diseases (which disturb the absorption of zinc in the intestine)
  • Diabetes
  • Diarrhoea
  • Taking antibiotics
  • High consumption of alcohol/caffeine
  • Stress

What happens if you take too much zinc?

An oversupply through food is hardly possible. However, anyone who overdoses on food supplements can get stomach aches, nausea or diarrhoea.

How can I avoid a zinc deficiency?

It is possible to avoid a zinc deficiency by eating zinc-rich food and preparations (dietary supplements).


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