Experiencing a zinc deficiency isn’t a big problem if you’re generally well nourished. However, those with a comprised digestive system are far more at risk than the average person, due to potential absorption issues.  Read on to discover more about zinc deficiency symptoms, and whether or not you may be affected.

Zinc is an important nutrient that plays many vital roles in your body. You don’t need loads of zinc, but you do need some and you need to obtain it from your diet and supplements, because the body doesn’t produce it.


You may get zinc deficiency symptoms related to –


  • Immune health – including fighting infections and healing wounds. If you’re low in zinc, you’ll be more vulnerable to infection and disease.
  • DNA repair
  • Vision, particularly age-related macular degeneration
  • Taste and smell
  • Growth
  • Gut health
  • Conception – If you’re trying to conceive then ensuring your zinc levels are optimal is extremely important.
  • Thyroid health
  • Stress resilience and mood – through the regulation of the stress hormone, cortisol


There are two groups of people who are more prone to zinc deficiency symptoms – they are those suffering with GI complaints, and those who mainly eat a plant-based diet, so strict vegetarians and vegans.

You need optimal gut health to ensure not only that your zinc is absorbed properly throughout the small intestine, but that you’re producing enough stomach acid to ensure it’s broken down and absorbed properly.

Adequate zinc is also necessary for the production of stomach acid.

If you’ve got digestive problems then you could be at risk of impairing your absorption of zinc.


Zinc deficiency symptoms and your gut function



Ensuring you’re eating a diverse diet can be a nightmare when you’re suffering with your gut, especially as so many of these ‘healthy’ foods are also big trigger foods. If this is the case for you I’d highly recommend downloading my online course The Ultimate Gut Health Programme to help you eat safely, whilst avoiding triggering symptoms.


It’d be impossible to include all you need to know in one blog, but the programme will have all you need to know to ensure you’re soothing your digestive system, whilst eating delicious and filling foods.



Zinc deficiency symptoms include:

  • Diarrhoea, as mentioned
  • Vision problems, including age-related macular degeneration
  • Mouth ulcers, skin ulcers and acne
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Poor appetite
  • Depressed mood
  • Decreased immunity
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Histamine intolerance

Food sources of zinc

  • Seafood, especially oysters and crab (this is probably the best source)
  • Red meat and poultry
  • Whole grains
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Beans, chickpeas and lentils
  • Nuts
  • Dairy products are a good source


Although many plant-based foods contain plenty of zinc, it’s trickier for us to absorb it due to the high concentration of phytic acid they contain. Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient which binds to minerals and prevents absorption by us. Hence the problems vegetarians and vegans will have. However, all is not lost as if you take a good quality vitamin and mineral supplement it should contain adequate levels of zinc – you ideally want between 10-15mg per day.


If you would like to speak to me about any aspect of your gut health, then please use this link to book into my diary for a FREE 30 minute chat so I can find out more about what is going on for you.  Alternatively please use the ‘Learn More’ link below.

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