Severe human zinc deficiency has been well characterized by the original descriptions in the Middle East and in patients with acrodermatitis enteropathica. The symptoms of mild deficiency are continued and exaggerated. Thus, stunting can be extreme and is accompanied by delayed sexual maturation and impotence. Characteristic skin lesions are found, originating around the mouth and nose but becoming widespread as deficiency develops. Diarrhea is also present. Deficits in taste and smell are accompanied by anorexia and other behavioral changes, including increased irritability and impaired cognitive function. Eye pathologies similar to those seen in vitamin A deficiency are observed.
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