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7 Signs & Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency & Treatment- Research Studies 

What is Zinc?

In addition to carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins, the body also requires minerals and vitamins for optimal functioning. Like iron, zinc is a trace mineral present in the human body. The estimated concentration of zinc in adult humans is 2-3 grams, however, the measurement of zinc status it’s a difficult task, particularly at the time of acute illness. The adequate concentration of zinc is integral to several physiological processes including immune function, division and growth of cells, promoting the action of insulin, sensory modalities of taste and smell, and wound healing. Zinc is also integral to the optimal growth and development of an individual during fetal, infancy, and childhood stages. [1]

The action of zinc in the human body is based on transcription factors and metalloproteins associated with this trace mineral. Zinc-dependent transcription factors mediate the expression of genes related to specific proteins. [1] 

Why Zinc is Important?

While developed nations do not mark severe zinc deficiency, it is most frequent in developing countries. Zinc deficiency contributes to reduced healthy life years. This trace mineral is integral to oral rehydration therapy (ORT) formulations for individuals suffering from diarrhea. The importance of zinc is further reflected by the fact that zinc supplementation declined global child mortality. Zinc transporters are implicated in the development of cancer and proliferation. Zinc also mediates the production of insulin crystals inside the beta pancreatic cells of diabetes mellitus patients. This mineral is associated with improvement in the levels of serum cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose. [1] 

7 Signs & Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency

1. Impaired Growth and Development 

Zinc deficiency manifests as impaired growth and development of the human body. This is more frequently observed at times of rapid growth including puberty, infancy, and pregnancy, during which the requirement of zinc intake is the highest. [2]

2. Increased Risk of Infections 

An impaired immune system is a significant clinical feature of zinc deficiency, which may result in the development of diarrhea. This is further combined with the impairment of transport across the intestinal mucosal cells. This causal relationship indicates the potential therapeutic role of zinc supplementation in treating diarrhea and increasing growth velocity. Zinc supplementation is also implicated in reducing the risk of the development of pneumonia. [2] 

3. Poor Appetite 

Research has demonstrated that the administration of zinc stimulates the intake of food via the combined action of orexigenic peptides and the vagus nerve. In association with this relationship, zinc deficiency is associated with profound anorexia in animal models. This also indicates that the deficiency of this trace mineral results in poor appetite in humans. Zinc supplementation mediates improved appetite by the action of the afferent vagus nerve and peptides in the hypothalamus. [3]

4. Male Hypogonadism 

Zinc has an integral role in the endocrine system and physiology of the male reproductive system. The deficiency of zinc in the body is associated with male infertility and reduced serum testosterone concentrations. Research has suggested that zinc supplementation is safe and effective for people individuals suffering from hypogonadism. Medicinal dosage of zinc supplementation is implicated in improvement in sperm count and increase in the total testosterone levels. [4]

5. Hair Loss

Zinc deficiency is observed in some individuals suffering from alopecia areata. Zinc serves as a cofactor for different enzymes and plays an essential role in different physiological processes in hair follicles. Zinc also inhibits the regression of hair follicles and promotes the recovery of hair follicles. The relationship between zinc deficiency and hair loss warrants the therapeutic role of zinc in alopecia areata patients with low zinc levels as adjuvant therapy. [5] 

6. Night Blindness 

Zinc deficiency may lead to the development of night blindness or abnormal adaptation in the dark. This is the characteristic feature of vitamin A deficiency. Research demonstrated that vitamin A supplementation in pregnant women with night blindness failed to eliminate the complaint, suggesting the potential role of zinc in the development of abnormal dark adaptation. The study concluded that zinc supplementation increased the levels of zinc concentration in the body and also restored night vision when combined with vitamin A. Hence, zinc potentiates the treatment outcomes of vitamin A in rescuing the night vision of zinc-deficient individuals during pregnancy. [6]

7. Poor Wound Healing 

A deficiency of zinc in the body is associated with delayed wound healing. Owing to the abundance of zinc in the epidermis, deficiency of this mineral can cause impaired healing of wounds and roughened skin texture. Severe forms of zinc deficiency are implicated in dermatitis, secondary bacterial or fungal infections, and diarrhea. [7]

Zinc Deficiency Treatment 

The recommended supplementation of zinc is limited to the range of the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Zinc is present in various dietary sources, mineral supplements, and multivitamins. It is also found in over-the-top medications. Large doses of zinc supplements may lead to the occurrence of vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps within a duration of 3-10 hours of intake of these supplements. Excess zinc supplementation can also lead to a deficiency of iron or copper. Zinc-containing nasal sprays and nasal gels can also lead to loss of smell or other side effects. Extremely high consumption of zinc supplements can lead to a multitude of symptoms including nausea, lethargy, fatigue, vomiting, and epigastric pain. [1] 

Take advantage of free consultation with one of our Health Coach through the chat icon on the website to determine of zinc deficiency along with the identification of appropriate dosages. ASTR Zinc Active supplements are recommended for patients who suffer from a deficiency of this mineral in the body. 


  1. Rabinovich D, Smadi Y. Zinc. [Updated 2022 May 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:
  2. Roohani, N., Hurrell, R., Kelishadi, R., & Schulin, R. (2013). Zinc and its importance for human health: An integrative review. Journal of research in medical sciences : the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences18(2), 144–157.
  3. Suzuki, H., Asakawa, A., Li, J. B., Tsai, M., Amitani, H., Ohinata, K., Komai, M., & Inui, A. (2011). Zinc as an appetite stimulator – the possible role of zinc in the progression of diseases such as cachexia and sarcopenia. Recent patents on food, nutrition & agriculture3(3), 226–231.
  4. Santos, H. O., & Teixeira, F. J. (2020). Use of medicinal doses of zinc as a safe and efficient coadjutant in the treatment of male hypogonadism. The aging male : the official journal of the International Society for the Study of the Aging Male23(5), 669–678.
  5. Park, H., Kim, C. W., Kim, S. S., & Park, C. W. (2009). The therapeutic effect and the changed serum zinc level after zinc supplementation in alopecia areata patients who had a low serum zinc level. Annals of dermatology21(2), 142–146.
  6. Christian, P., Khatry, S. K., Yamini, S., Stallings, R., LeClerq, S. C., Shrestha, S. R., Pradhan, E. K., & West, K. P., Jr (2001). Zinc supplementation might potentiate the effect of vitamin A in restoring night vision in pregnant Nepalese women. The American journal of clinical nutrition73(6), 1045–1051.
  7. Lin, P. H., Sermersheim, M., Li, H., Lee, P. H. U., Steinberg, S. M., & Ma, J. (2017). Zinc in Wound Healing Modulation. Nutrients10(1), 16.