Meat, fish, poultry, seafood such as crab and lobster, and fortified breakfast cereals are also good sources of zinc. A zinc deficiency occurs when the body does not have enough of the mineral zinc. Zinc is important for the immune system, wound healing, and normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence. Zinc is found in various foods, including lean red meat, seafood (particularly herring and oysters), peas, and beans.
Zinc is also found in whole grains. However, large amounts of whole grains have been found to reduce the amount of zinc absorbed. Treated (galvanized) cookware can add extra zinc to food. Food stored in uncoated tin cans can result in less zinc being available for absorption from food. Vegetarians traditionally have lower levels of zinc because the body breaks down the zinc contained in meat more efficiently.
Often, the best way to diagnose a zinc deficiency is to see if symptoms improve with a zinc supplement. A large study in people at higher risk of AMD showed that taking a multivitamin supplement containing zinc daily — along with vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, and copper — can help prevent this. It’s important to follow your doctor or pharmacist’s recommendations, as too much zinc can cause diarrhea or vomiting and can interfere with other nutrients you need, such as copper and iron. Zinc supplements may be necessary for patients who cannot absorb enough zinc in their normal diet or who have an increased need for zinc.
If a person thinks they have zinc deficiency, they should talk to their doctor about supplements or other treatments. If you or your child have skin problems associated with zinc deficiency, they should start to subside within 72 hours of taking a supplement. Dietary supplements may contain varying amounts of elemental zinc (the weight of the actual zinc molecule) and are labeled as zinc gluconate, zinc sulfate, or zinc acetate. Zinc is crucial for a fully functional taste perception. So if you find that you don’t taste or smell things as clearly as you used to, it may be because you have low levels of zinc.
Instead, you might want to think about adding some zinc-rich foods to your diet, such as shellfish and yogurt. Too much zinc can cause symptoms ranging from nausea and vomiting to impaired immune system function. Although a doctor may order a blood or urine test to check zinc levels, these may not produce a definitive result. A lack of zinc can lead to poor night vision and wound healing, a decrease in the sense of taste and smell, a reduced ability to fight infections, and poor development of reproductive organs.
First off, zinc is a trace mineral, which means you only need to consume very small amounts to be healthy. When the body does not have the zinc it needs, a person may experience symptoms associated with zinc deficiency. Zinc supplements can weaken the effects of antibiotics, and antibiotics can make it harder for your body to use zinc.