Is my child zinc deficient?


Zinc is an essential mineral for the growth and development of children.  It plays a critical role in strengthening the immune system, supporting healthy skin, hair, nail growth and is necessary for optimal nervous system function.

Symptoms of zinc deficiency include:

  • Lowered immunity: Frequent colds and flus and the inability to recover fully after an illness
  • Dry, brittle and cracking nails
  • Hair loss and thinning
  • Skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis
  • Loss of appetite

What are causes of zinc deficiency?

  • Lack of zinc-containing foods in the diet
  • Digestive issues leading to decreased absorption of essential nutrients

Is there a test for zinc deficiency?

Most naturopathic doctors will offer a zinc tally test to assess zinc deficiency.  It involves gargling a small amount of water containing 5 mg of zinc-sulfate for 10 seconds then swallowing.

There are zinc receptors in your taste buds and if you have normal levels of zinc you will taste a strong, metallic flavour and your tongue may feel a furry sensation.

People who are deficient in zinc will not taste anything! After 3 months of zinc supplementation and incorporating zinc-containing foods into their diet I have them repeat the test and they are shocked when they taste the metallic flavour that was absent when they were zinc deficient.

What if my child is zinc deficient?

I recommend increasing foods in the diet that are high in zinc including: nuts, seeds, chicken, fish, eggs, oatmeal, beans, chickpeas.

Supplementing with zinc may be necessary, however you should consult with your health care provider for the recommended dosage based on your child’s age.  Excess amounts of zinc can be harmful.

Supporting a healthy digestive tract function is a primary part of the treatment of zinc deficiency and will help prevent against other nutrient deficiencies by optimizing your child’s ability to digest and absorb their food.


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Category: Family, Nutrition, Wellness

About the Author ()

Dr. Ellen Simone welcomes you to work with her under a holistic view of health which encompasses the understanding that the mind and body are connected to sustaining long-term health and wellness. As a naturopathic doctor, Dr. Simone focuses on family wellness and has special interests in women and children’s health. She loves working with women through different phases in their lives; to regulate the menstrual cycle, ease PMS symptoms, optimize fertility, provide support during and after pregnancy, maintain breast health and welcome menopause. Children are also a primary focus in her practice and she believes that setting healthy habits at a young age is important for long-term health and wellness.

Comments (2)

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  1. kathy downey says:

    Very interesting read,thanks for sharing

  2. kathy downey says:

    My fried has Dry, brittle nails and thinning this maybe she should look into this

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