You need zinc in your diet for forming DNA, healing wounds and forming proteins. Zinc may also have an effect on appetite, but it may be more likely to increase appetite than decrease it.
Zinc and Appetite Loss
One of the symptoms of a zinc deficiency is a loss of appetite. Not getting enough zinc can also interfere with your sense of smell and taste and lead to anorexia and weight loss. Getting more zinc through diet or supplements to bring zinc levels back up to normal can rectify this situation.
Zinc as an Appetite Stimulant
People with certain health conditions sometimes have low appetites, leading them to not eat enough. This may include up to 70 percent of people with kidney problems who are being treated with dialysis. A study published in "Dialysis & Transplantation" in December 2010 found that people on dialysis given zinc supplements each day for 60 days had improved appetites and less nausea, while those in the control group had increased symptoms.
Zinc and Weight Loss
Although zinc may increase your appetite, there is also some limited evidence that it may help with weight loss. A study published in "Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin" in 2013 found that obese people who were given a zinc supplement for 30 days experienced decreases in both body weight and body mass index. The study authors note that this reduction in weight could be due to zinc acting in similar ways to insulin and zinc's effects on the production of leptin, a hormone that plays a role in regulating hunger.
Getting the Right Amount
Men and pregnant women need at least 11 milligrams of zinc per day, and women need at least 8 milligrams per day to avoid becoming deficient in zinc. Adults shouldn't consume more than 40 milligrams per day, however, as this could bring on toxicity symptoms, including appetite loss, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, reduced immune function and copper deficiency. Good food sources of zinc include oysters, beef, crab, fortified cereal, lobster, beans, nuts and dairy products.
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Zinc
- Dialysis & Transplantation: Does Zinc Supplementation Improve Dietary Intake, Symptoms of Eating Problems, and Serum Zinc Levels in Hemodialysis Patients?
- Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin: Effects of Zinc Supplementation on the Anthropometric Measurements, Lipid Profiles and Fasting Blood Glucose in the Healthy Obese Adults
- International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences: A Potential Medicinal Importance of Zinc in Human Health and Chronic Disease