Can Zinc Deficiency Cause Hair Loss?
Zinc is an essential element in the process of hair production, especially in the formation of keratin by acting as an intermediary. In other words, methionine and cysteine (L-cystine) taken into the body synthesize keratin by the incorporation of zinc.
In cases of zinc deficiency, hair loss is a significant problem. Zinc is one of the most critical minerals in the human body after iron, and lack in either one results in hair loss. The deficiency of zinc in the formation of keratin decreases the quality of hair and increases the hair thinning.
Because of these effects of zinc, almost all hair products contain zinc.
How to Treat Zinc Deficiency
The long-term treatment for zinc deficiency begins by changing your diet. The zinc is mostly found in protein-rich foods. You should know that animal protein is richer than vegetable protein. If you are a vegetarian, it may be more difficult to obtain the amount of zinc you need from the food. However, hard-shelled nuts, cereal products, and legumes (beans, chickpeas, peas) are also good sources of zinc. You may try to consume these as alternative sources of zinc.
According to the World Health Organization, an adult person needs to take about 1.5 to 2.5 mg of zinc per day. During rapid growth, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and convalescence of diseases, this amount may be slightly higher. According to WHO, about half of the world’s adults currently have a zinc deficiency.
In the case of zinc supplementation, it should not exceed 30 mg per day since zinc disrupts the absorption of iron, calcium, and copper.
What Is Zinc?
The history of zinc deficiency is not very old. Until the 1970s, there is little information about zinc deficiency in the literature.
Zinc is a vital mineral for the body. Zinc—which is most commonly found in the eyes, kidney, liver, and muscles—is essential for health. It has many benefits from healing wounds to hair growth.
Zinc is a mineral your body uses to fight infections and produce cells. If you do not get enough zinc in your diet, you may experience some health problems such as hair loss, inability to wake up, and a decrease in taste and smell.
Zinc deficiency manifests itself mainly by the following:
- Hair loss
- Appetite and weight loss
- Slow healing of wounds
- Decreased resistance to infections
- Muscular fatigue
Acquired zinc deficiency can be seen during lactation. Moreover, the elderly, alcoholics, anorexics and those using ACE inhibitors may experience zinc deficiency and related problems.