9. Low Cognitive Function
Zinc deficiency can also cause damage to the neurological system, impairing your cognitive skills, such as learning and hedonic tone (general level of pleasantness or unpleasantness).
It is also associated with dyslexia, a learning disability. Zinc interacts with and modulates different synaptic targets, including glutamate receptors and voltage-gated channels, which play a key role in learning and memory.
Another study, published in the Biological Trace Element Research journal in 2013, suggests that oral zinc supplementation may improve cognitive function in school-age children.
10. Weak Bones and Joints
Zinc is a vital bone nutrient and its deficiency can greatly affect your bones and it helps in the stimulation of bone-building osteoblasts. A deficiency of this mineral often causes joint pain.
A 2010 study published in the Nutrition Research and Practice journal suggests that zinc might increase bone formation through stimulating cell proliferation, alkaline phosphatase activity and collagen synthesis in osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 cells.
As the amount of zinc in the bones declines with age, taking zinc supplements can help maintain bone health and reduce the risk of arthritis. Consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
Tips to Treat Zinc Deficiency
Zinc deficiency can be easily corrected with dietary sources. Some good sources of zinc are:
- Red meat, poultry and eggs
- Oysters, crab, lobster and other shellfish
- Pulses, baked beans, chickpeas and legumes
- Nuts and seeds like cashews, almonds, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds
- Whole-grain cereals
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Dairy products like cheese and low-fat milk
You can also take zinc supplements, but only after consulting your doctor.
Note: Avoid high zinc intake, as it can lead to zinc toxicity causing symptoms like nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, diarrhea and headaches.