Zinc is an essential mineral that helps decrease the likelihood of disease and infection in our bodies. In 1961, the discovery of zinc deficiency occurred when an Iranian man surviving on bread, potatoes, and milk suffered from multiple developmental disorders. Phytic acid, prevalent in grain-based foods such as what the Iranian man was living off of, blocks the absorption of zinc leading to a deficiency even if the correct amount of zinc is being consumed. 


Zinc is clearly an important nutrient when we are developing, but what does zinc actually do? 

Zinc plays a role in:

  • Gene expression 
  • Enzymatic reactions 
  • Immune function 
  • Protein synthesis 
  • DNA synthesis 
  • Wound healing 
  • Growth and development 

Recommended Daily Intake

Infants and children, adolescents, pregnant and lactating women are all at a higher risk of a zinc deficiency. Individuals in these groups require extra zinc to assist with their growth and, in the case of pregnant and lactating women, the growth of their offspring. The elderly are also prone to zinc deficiency because they generally have a lack of intake of the zinc-rich foods. 

  Female Male Pregnant Breastfeeding
Birth to 6 months 2 mg 2 mg -
Infants 7-12 months 3 mg 3 mg - -
Children 1-3 years 3 mg 3 mg - -
Children  4-8 years 5 mg 5 mg - -
Children 9-13 years 8 mg 8 mg - -
Teens 14-18 years 9 mg 11 mg 12 mg 13 mg 
Adults  8 mg 11 mg 11 mg  12 mg 


Deficiency Signs and Symptoms 

Severe zinc deficiency has a more obvious clinical presentation, but mild zinc deficiency is a world-wide malnutrition problem. Below are some indicators to look for if you suspect zinc is lacking in your diet. 

  • Impaired immune system 
  • Impaired growth and development 
  • Delayed sexual maturity 
  • Skin rashes 
  • Chronic Diarrhea 
  • Impaired wound healing 
  • Behavioral Issues 

Food Sources 

Diets low in meat and other animal sources of nutrients can result in getting inadequate amounts of zinc, but with strategic inclusion of foods rich in zinc, even vegans and vegetarians can fulfill the required amount. 

  • Wild-Caught shellfish: Oysters, crab, mussels, lobster and clams 
  • Grass-Fed meat: Beef, pork, lamb and bison 
  • Pasture-Raised poultry: Turkey and chicken 
  • Wild-Caught fish: Flounder, sardines, salmon and sole 
  • Organic legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, black beans, kidney beans, etc. 
  • Organic sprouted nuts and seeds: Pumpkin seeds, cashews, hemp seeds, etc. 
  • Grass-Fed dairy products: Kefir, yogurt, and cheese 
  • Pasture-Raised eggs 
  • Avocados 
  • Organic vegetables: Mushrooms, kale, peas, asparagus and beet greens 

Healthy Beings' Strategies to Address Deficiency

Healthy Beings offers supplements and services that can mitigate and address deficiencies you might be struggling with. We also offer recommendations beyond our current available inventory. You will find suggestions below that can help prevent a deficiency. If you are not sure if you have a deficiency, contact us HERE and we will answer questions you might have. 


Maintain Optimal Zinc Levels!



1. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-Consumer/
2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/zinc

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3724376/

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