Who should be concerned about a zinc deficiency?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
While most Americans don't have to worry about a zinc deficiency, two groups that should take special note are pregnant women and vegetarians. Both are likely to require more daily zinc than the average individual. Vegetarians commonly eat a lot of legumes and whole grains, which contain phytates that bind zinc and inhibit its absorption in the body. This means vegetarians may require 50% more of the recommended daily allowance for zinc than non-vegetarians. Pregnant women also are at increased risk of becoming zinc insufficient partly because of high fetal requirements for zinc. Breastfeeding also can deplete zinc in the body, so lactating women should aim for about 12 mg of zinc a day.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.