What are the symptoms of zinc deficiency?
Symptoms of zinc deficiency depend on how deficient you are. Symptoms may be mild if the zinc level is just a little low, but can be very severe if there is severe deficiency. Symptoms can include:
- Not wanting to eat.
- Losing weight.
- Loose stools (diarrhoea).
- Having no energy.
- Being more prone to infections, such as colds, coughs and chest infections.
- Losing your hair.
- Skin rashes.
- Problems with eyesight, taste or smell.
In children and adolescents there also can be:
- Halting of growth.
- Delayed puberty.
- Development of learning difficulty.
What are the symptoms of zinc excess?
A number of different symptoms can occur if you have too much zinc on board. For example:
- Tummy (abdominal) pains
- Feeling sick (nausea)
- Being sick (vomiting)
Too much zinc can also affect the levels in your body of other elements, such as iron, copper, magnesium or calcium. There can then be a knock-on effect of lack of these elements - for example, anaemia from a lack of iron.
A condition called metal fume fever can occur if zinc-containing fumes have been breathed in - for example, during welding or galvanising processes. This causes symptoms such as:
- A sore throat.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Chest pains.
- High temperature (fever).
- Muscle and joint pains.
- Diarrhoea and vomiting.
Are there any side-effects of zinc supplements?
There are various forms of zinc supplements, containing different doses and forms of zinc. These vary, but some zinc supplements can have side-effects for some people. Many people have no side-effects. Read the information leaflet which comes with the packet. Possible side-effects can include:
- An unpleasant taste.
- Tummy ache.
- Feeling sick, or being sick.
Never take more than the recommended amount, due to the risks of excess zinc, as described above.
Did you find this information useful?
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