zinc hair loss: How To Understand The Signs Of Zinc Deficiency?

Zinc is a trace mineral, which means it’s basically a mineral that’s needed in smaller amounts compared to other proteins and vitamins. But it’s still necessary for the proper functioning of your body and you’ve to suffer if you’re zinc deficient. Due to a deficiency in zinc hair loss has become one of the most common issues these days. If you notice that your sense of taste or smell is not so sharp like before or you’re losing your appetite day by day, you are surely having a zinc deficiency and you should start taking zinc enriched foods or good quality zinc supplements.

Here we’ll cover the common symptoms of zinc deficiency and discuss the remedies and food that can bring your zinc level to normal.

Signs of Zinc Deficiency:

Little white spots on nails: If you eat a lot of food rich in carbohydrates you could have a zinc deficiency because too much sugar or carbohydrate will pull zinc out of your body. If you notice that there is a little white speck on the middle of your nail that speck has been going upwards with the growth of your nail, you can be sure kind of sure that you are zinc deficient. This is one of the common low zinc symptoms.

Acne, Eczema, Dermatitis: All these skin issues could be related to zinc deficiency, but there are other things too that could cause skin issues that almost mimic a zinc deficiency, like vitamin A deficiency or vitamin B2 or B6 deficiency. So, you have to consider all of these things. If you’re low in zinc you can’t absorb or utilize vitamins because vitamins and minerals work together. As a mineral, zinc uses over 300 enzymes and that’s a lot of chemical body reactions for the benefit of your skin.

Hair Loss: Hair is made of a type of complex protein called keratin. Although keratin usually doesn’t require zinc for hair maintenance, certain enzymes require zinc to promote hair growth from the hair follicles. Therefore, due to a deficiency in zinc hair loss is a possible outcome because these enzymes can’t work for natural hair growth. A common form of hair loss disorder is alopecia, also known as pattern baldness. Alopecia occurs when you see little bald spots formed by hair loss or thinning of hair that could most likely result by vitamin B deficiency, such as a lower amount of biotin. But it can also be a zinc deficiency hair loss since they’re needed by certain enzymes which work to promote hair growth.

Rhinoviruses: Zinc is a trace mineral that keeps viruses from spreading inside your body. You can’t kill a virus because it’s not alive, it’s a piece of genetic material that’s wrapped in a sac that can activate your own energy from your cells and create a cascade to an immune response. Zinc actually keeps the rhinovirus in check and speeds up the time of recovering your sickness. You will require zinc to prevent rhinoviruses that cause nasal drip, sinus congestion, sore throat, and sneezing.

Lower testosterone: Both men and women can have low testosterone levels. Your libido could be very low due to zinc deficiency. Most of the symptoms of zinc deficiency in females and male can be seen in their late years. As per NHANES III data, 35%–45% of adults who were aged 60 years or above had a lower level of zinc intake. The estimated average requirement of zinc could be 6.8 mg/day for elderly females and 9.4 mg/day for elderly males.

Causes Of Zinc Deficiency:

One of the common factors behind zinc deficiency is a high level of emotional stress. If you are emotionally stressed out, over time your body will utilize zinc mineral to heal and repair the body, especially your brain, skin, and organs. Zinc is a reparative mineral that is actually critical for protein synthesis and utilization in your body. So if you are going through depression or have a very stressful job or you’re not sleeping enough, you could have a zinc deficiency.

The second most common cause of zinc deficiency is over exercising. Triathletes, marathon runners, and CrossFit athletes are some of the people that are most susceptible to zinc deficiency. So, if you over exercise a lot and have done that in the recent past, that could cause zinc deficiency.

The third common reason for zinc deficient is pregnancy or when breastfeeding. Obviously, when you’re eating for you as well as your child, that could cause mineral deficiencies.

Last but not least, aging women or elderly people typically tend to have malabsorption. They don’t absorb zinc well and thus tend to have a zinc deficiency.

Zinc Source:

Food: A wide range of foods contain zinc. Oysters and pumpkin seeds have more zinc per serving than any other food. In the American diet, poultry and red meat like beef pork are very common. Other sources of zinc-rich food include nuts and beans. You can also find zinc in seafood such as lobster and crab. Whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, and dairy products are also great sources of zinc.

Legumes, cereals, whole-grain breads, and other foods that have phytates disrupt the absorption of zinc. Thus, these foods (grains) have lower bioavailability than those from animal foods. But there are some grains and plant-based foods that have a higher level of zinc. Look at the chart given below for daily value for zinc you can get from your favorite food.

Food Ounces Milligrams (mg)

per serving

Percent DV*
Oysters, fired, cooked and breaded, 3   74.0 493
Alaskan king Crab- cooked 3 6.5 43
Beef chuck- braised, roast 3 7.0 47
Beef patty- broiled 3 5.3 35
Breakfast- cereal, fortified ¾ cup 3.8 25
Lobster- Cooked 3 3.4 23
Pork chop- cooked, loin 3 2.9 19
Milk- low or non-fat 1 cup 1.0 7
Baked beans, plain, vegetarian or canned ½ cup 2.9 19
Peas, green, cooked or frozen ½ cup 0.5 3
Chicken, cooked or dark meat 3 2.4 16
Yogurt- low fat or fruit 8 1.7 11
Almonds- roasted 1 0.9 6
Cashews- roasted 1 1.6 11
Cheese-  mozzarella or cheddar 1 0.9 6
Chickpeas – cooked ½ cup 1.3 9
Kidney beans- cooked ½ cup 0.9 6
Cheese- Swiss 1 1.2 8
Flounder- sole or cooked 3 0.3 2
Oatmeal- plain, instant or with water 1 1.1 7
Chicken breast- without skin, roasted. ½ breast 0.9 6

Note: DV = Daily Value. Developed by The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This helps consumers find and compare the zinc-rich food that can be consumed in context to the daily value.

Dietary supplements: Zinc supplements come with different types of zinc form like zinc sulfate, zinc acetate, and zinc gluconate. The percentage of zinc level differ by their forms. For example, approximately 220 mg of zinc sulfate will contain 50 mg of elemental zinc, which is 23% of elemental zinc. However, these statements have not been researched or evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration for the supplements that you will be taking. You will find the total amount of elemental zinc per tablet from the Supplement Facts panel on the supplement container. Besides that, you can find reviews on the best Zinc Supplements here.

Zinc is an essential mineral for your body and you will have to take it enough to maintain a good health condition. To make sure you are getting enough zinc you can keep a varied diet with good sources of zinc, such as seafood, meat, seeds nuts, and dairy and legumes. You can easily add them to your diet and they are delicious as well. If you are not sure whether you are getting enough zinc in your diet, try to speak to your healthcare professional about the possibility of taking these supplements.


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