Definition of Zinc deficiency
Zinc deficiency: Lack of zinc in the body.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, the Recommended Dietary Allowances of zinc are 12 milligrams per day for women and 10 milligrams per day for men. Food sources of zinc include meat including liver, eggs, seafood, nuts and cereal.
Deficiency of zinc is associated with short stature, anemia, increased pigmentation of skin (hyperpigmentation), enlarged liver and spleen (hepatosplenomegaly), impaired gonadal function (hypogonadism), impaired wound healing, and immune deficiency.
In a genetic disease called acrodermatitis enteropathica, there is impaired zinc uptake from the intestine. The condition is characterized by the simultaneous presence of dermatitis (skin inflammation) and diarrhea. The skin on the cheeks, elbows and knees and the tissues about the mouth and anus are inflamed. There is balding of the scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes. Wound healing is delayed. And there are recurrent bacterial and fungal infections due to immune deficiency. The key laboratory finding is an abnormally low blood zinc level reflecting the impaired zinc uptake. Treatment with zinc is curative.
Last Editorial Review: 4/27/2011 5:27:15 PM
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