Zinc is the most vital mineral for the body to fight infections and produce cells. It is key to create DNA and heal injuries. Lack of correct zinc levels can lead to many side effects amongst which are lowered sense of smell and taste. The only way to know if your zinc levels are normal is the Zinc deficiency test. Let us know how it is done and what are the normal zinc levels in a healthy person.
What Is Zinc Deficiency?
In the simplest terms, zinc deficiency is the situation wherein the body has no adequate zinc levels to meet its daily needs. There may be many reasons for this condition, however, one of the most common reasons is not getting enough zinc through the food one eats.
Symptoms Of Zinc Deficiency
The body needs zinc as said above for cell production besides carrying on immune functions. Apart from these two vital functions zinc is also a key mineral for sexual development, reproduction, and growth.
When the body is deficient in zinc the body cannot produce new and healthy cells thereby leading to the below symptoms such as;
- Inexplicable weight loss
- Wounds that do not heal
- Absence of alertness
- Reduced sense of taste and smell
- Loss of hunger
- Open sores on the skin
- Frequent signs of the common cold
- A weakened immune system
- Predisposition to infections
- Skin rashes around the mouth
- Skin ulcers
- Vision problems
- Hair loss
- Sexual dysfunction
- Difficulty concentrating
- A disposition to recurrent asthma exacerbations
The zinc deficiency effects above said are not complete and may also include others as zinc deficiency is also the result of other medical treatments and mineral deficiencies. Usually, zinc deficiency is high in pregnant women and nursing women.
Can You Test For Zinc Deficiency?
Yes, zinc deficiency can be tested. When in doubt, zinc deficiency can be tested with the help of a urine test, hair analysis test, or blood test. Due to numerous causes of zinc deficiency one single test may not be sufficient to know the exact zinc deficiency range and cause behind it. Testing blood plasma is often the most reliable way to know the deficiency of zinc.
The zinc deficiency test at home can also be done and one simple way to know if your body is less in zinc then you must mix 50mg of zinc sulfate in a half a glass of water and drink it. If it tastes sweet, pleasant, or tasteless such as water, then it indicates less zinc and that the body requires it. In case the taste is unpleasant or strong metallic it indicates that one isn’t deficient in zinc.
This kind of zinc deficiency test done at home is known as the ‘’sweet test”.
How Is The Zinc Deficiency Test Done?
The biggest problem with diagnosing zinc deficiency is, it is present in small traces in the cells of the body. A lab technician may suggest a urine test or blood test to know the zinc levels. They may even ask full health history besides asking questions about dietary intake.
A blood test is done using the blood drawn from a person’s veins and a urine test is done using a person’s urine.
Analysis of hair strands may also be done.
Normal Levels Of Zinc Deficiency
The normal level of zinc in matured persons is 70 mcg/dl (normal 70-120 mcg/dl) and as such anything less than this is known as zinc deficiency. Zinc deficiency can even be linked with less alkaline phosphatase.
Causes Of Low Levels Of Zinc
There are two main causes of low zinc levels;
- Medical conditions
- Dietary habits
The following are some of the medical conditions;
- Intestinal ailments like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Sickle cell disease
- Pancreatic diseases
Dietary routines include;
- A vegetarian diet
- Iron supplements (interfere with zinc levels)
- Babies breastfed exclusively
- Intake of medicines like antibiotics, diuretics, and penicillamine
Besides the above, age is also one condition that leads to lesser zinc presence.
Causes Of High Levels Of Zinc
One way a person may see high levels of zinc is by eating more food materials high in zinc such as red meat, seafood, poultry, fortified cereals, and whole grains.
Working in surroundings that are rich in zinc such as metallurgy may also lead to this situation.
Nutrient supplements and OTC drugs for cold and other conditions also have zinc in high levels leading to this condition.
Tips To Maintain Normal zinc Levels
If you are zinc deficient eat more foods that have zinc. If this doesn’t help meet your doctor and take medicines as he/she suggests. And in case you have zinc more than needed ensure you lessen them by following some precautionary measures or taking medical help.
If you come across any symptoms of high or low zinc levels get your zinc deficiency test done.
Sudheendra is a passionate blogger for 8 years and holds a Degree in Journalism & Mass Communications. His writings particularly focus on health, medicine, diet & lifestyle. For him, everything that interlinks and relates to health & medical world entices him. His write-ups aim at educating people not by just giving facts but by infusing human touch.