Roles of Zinc in Our Body

Goals

To determine the role of zinc in our body, the impact of deficiency and causes leading to deficiency.

Early Findings

Overview

  • According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, zinc is a trace mineral, second only to iron in terms of concentration in the body.
  • Found throughout our body, it has an important role in our immune system. It is needed in "cell division, cell growth, wound healing, and the breakdown of carbohydrates."
  • It is also known to be involved in the sense of smell and taste.
  • The recommended daily allowance for zinc is 11 mg a day for men and 8 mg a day for women aged 19 and older.

Deficiency

  • Although rare, zinc deficiency is most common among those who are unable to absorb the mineral well "due to digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel diseases."
  • Gastrointestinal surgeries and chronic liver or kidney diseases also increase the risk of zinc deficiency.
  • Symptoms include but are not limited to hair loss, depressed moods, diarrhea and poor appetite.
  • According to the National Institutes of Health, zinc deficiency may lead to "slow growth in infants and children, delayed sexual development in adolescents and impotence in men."

Proposed next steps:

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