Zinc is essential for normal metabolism in man. It is necessary for cell growth and for nucleic acid and protein synthesis. Zinc deficiency in the young can delay puberty and may even lead to dwarfism and hypogonadism.1 2 The commonest cause of zinc deficiency used to be excessive phytic acid in the diet which interfered with the absorption of zinc, but some relatively carbohydrate-rich diets in affluent societies may also provide less than the normal daily requirements, 15–20 mg zinc.1 Protein foods contain more zinc than carbohydrate-rich diets. Zinc deficiency may also occur from chronic blood loss due to parasitic infestation. Increased loss of zinc in the urine follows accidental or surgical injury.
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