Zinc isn’t a nutrient that gets as much attention as some of the others, for example calcium, vitamin C and protein. However, it is a mineral that is vitally important to your health and not one that you should overlook.
Zinc plays many roles in your body, including proper immunity, wound healing, cell division and proper growth and development during childhood. A deficiency can be harmful to your health, so it pays to make sure you are getting enough on a daily basis.
Of course, your doctor can run a simple blood test to see what your zinc levels are, but there are some other signs you can watch for if you want to get an idea of whether or not you need to boost your zinc intake.
Here are some signs that you might be low in zinc. If you notice any of them, add zinc-rich foods to your meal plan, but also give your doctor a call to rule out any other health issues that might be going on.
1. Acne Could Be A Sign
Because one of zinc’s roles is protein synthesis, a deficiency can make itself known by messing with your skin. If your zinc levels are low, you could be suffering from acne on your face and body. There are plenty of things that can cause acne, but boosting your zinc intake might be all it takes for you to cause your acne to clear up. If this doesn’t work, put in a call to your dermatologist to see if you can combine zinc foods with other treatments for your acne.
2. You Get Sick A Lot
As mentioned above, zinc is responsible for keeping your immune system humming along like it’s supposed to. When you don’t get enough zinc, you could find yourself coming down with illnesses on a regular basis. People often report getting one cold after another.
The reason why people use zinc lozenges when they get a cold is because it helps reduce the severity of the illness. By boosting your zinc intake, you might notice that you feel healthy most of the time and stop coming down with so many illnesses.
3. Low Zinc Could Interfere With Sleep
There are a lot of things that contribute to getting good sleep, and zinc levels are one of them. When you get the right amount of magnesium, melatonin and zinc and in the right ratios, you can improve the quality of your sleep. If you toss and turn at night and have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, it could be as simple as increasing your zinc intake to level things off. Pretty soon you could be sleeping like a baby.
4. You Might Have Hair Loss
Again, because zinc is involved in proper protein production, it makes sense that a deficiency could show up in the health and vitality of your hair. Many people who are low in zinc experience hair loss. In many cases, this is linked to thyroid problems, which interferes with proper zinc absorption. Have your thyroid levels checked as soon as possible, and eat more zinc-rich foods to help your hair thicken and grow back lustrous and healthy.
5. Maybe You Have A Leaky Gut
Leaky gut is a condition that causes food particles to leak back into your bloodstream. While there are many reasons you could have a leaky gut, studies show that increasing your zinc intake can help tighten up your digestive tract, which helps reduce the amount of food that makes its way out of your gut. Zinc probably won’t cure the condition on its own, but is certainly a viable thing to combine with other forms of treatment.
6. Allergies Are Another Indicator Of Low Zinc Levels
Allergies can’t be blamed solely on low zinc levels in your body, but when you are under a lot of stress, you may experience adrenal fatigue, which interferes with healthy zinc levels. This helps block histamine in your bloodstream, thereby warding off a case of allergies. By boosting your intake of zinc foods you can increase the response of histamine, warding off the symptoms of allergies, including a runny nose, watering eyes and sneezing.
7. Zinc Plays A Role In ADHD
ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is often considered a childhood condition, but many adults also suffer from it. Many studies have found a link between hyperactive behavior and low zinc levels. If you were diagnosed with ADHD as a child, chances are you may still have it as an adult, and increasing your blood levels of zinc may help balance your symptoms and make it easier to live life with the condition.
8. Slow Growth In Children Is Another Problem
When a child does not reach growth milestones, they are often diagnosed with failure to thrive or slow growth. In some kids, this low zinc level lowers appetite so they aren’t eating as much as they should. By increasing zinc intake, appetite may increase and that will lead to eating more, which will drive growth and development. If you are worried about your child’s growth, talk to their pediatrician about getting their zinc level tested.
9. Zinc Can Affect Pregnancy And Fertility
Low zinc levels, when combined with other circumstances, can often mess with healthy fertility. Women with low zinc levels may have trouble getting pregnant and may have a longer labor and a smaller baby. Men who are low in zinc may have altered sperm motility and testicular development. The bottom line is that both men and women should be making sure they get enough zinc, especially if they are trying to become parents.
10. Alzheimer’s Disease Is A Risk Too
As people age, nutrient deficiencies become more common, and a low zinc level is one of the most common. Several studies have shown that low zinc levels can play a role in cognitive decline. If you’re at risk of Alzheimer’s or dementia, talk to your doctor about zinc supplementation.
In addition to taking a zinc supplement to up your levels, you can eat certain foods that contain the nutrient. Great choices include oysters, beef, crab, fortified cereal, lobster, pork, chicken, baked beans, cheese, nuts, oatmeal, flounder, peas and yogurt. Adding these items to your meal plan is a simple and easy way to increase zinc levels and protect many aspects of your health.
Once you start eating more zinc-rich foods, you may notice that symptoms of your zinc deficiency may start to alleviate. If that doesn’t happen, it’s important to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss what else might be going on so that you can get to the bottom of your symptoms. A zinc deficiency might not sound like a big deal, but it can compromise your health so it’s nothing to mess around with. Taking care of your health is something you’ll always be glad you’ve done.