Zinc is an essential mineral and one of the most important micronutrient deficiencies worldwide in addition to iron, iodine, and Vitamin A. Good sources of zinc include meat, chicken, nuts and lentils. Even though many cereals are fortified with zinc, nearly ½ of adults have a zinc deficiency.
Once consumed, zinc is mainly absorbed in the small intestine, transported to the liver and excreted through the GI tract. Zinc plays an important role in cells, proteins and DNA synthesis. When zinc is in short supply, it affects bodily functions that are responsible for immune and sexual function, proper wound healing and hair growth.
People with poor diets, malabsorption (inflammatory bowel) or those who have undergone gastric bypass surgery have a higher risk of zinc deficiency. Some individuals benefit from zinc supplementation if their diet cannot provide sufficient levels. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 8-11 mg daily for most adults.
In addition to sufficient iron, Vitamin C and biotin, adequate consumption of zinc may help minimize hair loss and other important bodily functions. There are a number of over-the-counter supplements in which you can find zinc, including Nature Made®, Centrum®, and One A Day® VitaCraves®.