Zinc is a vital mineral that your body uses in countless ways.
In fact, zinc is the second-most-abundant trace mineral in your body — after iron — and is present in every cell.
Zinc is necessary for the activity of over 300 enzymes that aid in metabolism, digestion, nerve function and many other processes.
In addition, it’s critical for the development and function of immune cells.
This mineral is also fundamental to skin health, DNA synthesis and protein production.
What’s more, body growth and development relies on zinc because of its role in cell growth and division.
Zinc is also needed for your senses of taste and smell. Because one of the enzymes crucial for proper taste and smell is dependent on this nutrient, a zinc deficiency can reduce your ability to taste or smell.
Normally, zinc deficiency is due to insufficient dietary intake. However, it may also be due to malabsorption and chronic illnesses such as diabetes, malignancy (cancer), liver disease, and sickle cell disease.
Zinc deficiency signs include:
• loss of appetite
• slow wound healing
• skin conditions such as acne or eczema
• abnormal taste and smell
• depressed growth
• altered cognition
• depression (more research needed)
• hair loss
Zinc deficiency during pregnancy may increase the chances of a difficult or prolonged birth.