Zinc and Other Minerals

Zinc is a component of many metalloenzymes including those needed for growth, pancreatic enzymes, and intestinal secretions. Although it is unusual to find a documented case of clinical zinc deficiency apart from occasional cases of acroder-matitis enteropathica, there has been recent concern over the possibility of relative zinc deficiency, especially among chronically ill patients with excessive intestinal secretions. Zinc deficiency could lead to impaired taste (hypogeusia) and appetite and immunodeficiency as well as affecting growth. A large group of adolescents in Shiraz, Iran was described to be of very short stature because of dietary zinc deficiency. Similarly, a group of people in Keshan, China was found to develop cardiomyopathy because of a selenium deficiency in the soil. Iodine deficiency is surprisingly common worldwide, perhaps involving up to half of the world population or 3 billion people, especially in areas of Southeast Asia where it is not supplemented in salt. It may cause hypothyroidism, goiter (neck masses), cretinism, or impaired intelligence if severe.

See also: Adolescents: Nutritional Requirements. Anemia: Iron-Deficiency Anemia. Calcium. Eating Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa; Bulimia Nervosa; Binge Eating. Folic Acid. Iron. Obesity: Definition, Etiology and Assessment. Osteoporosis. Zinc: Physiology.

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