The World Health Organization reported that zinc deficiency has become quite common in the recent years. It is a widespread epidemic that affects the well-being and health of many populations.

                        ? AndreyPopov/Getty Images

                        The average American goes on with their daily routine surrounded by multivitamin supplements and fortified foods at every supermarket in the country. As a result, they have become stranger to various global health problems that affect millions of people on a daily basis.

                        Studies show that zinc deficiency is actually a common micronutrient deficiency. It is associated with intellectual impairments, poor growth, perinatal complications and increased risk of mortality and morbidity.

                        As the name suggests, zinc deficiency is a condition when the body does not have the recommended amount of zinc for proper functioning. Here are some of the signs and symptoms one may experience:

                        Weak Immunity

                        Zinc is critical to maintaining our body’s immune system. It is essential for gene transcription; apoptosis, which is responsible for killing dangerous bacteria in our body; the growth of T cells and other protective functions of our cell membranes.

                        Poor Neuropsychologic Performance

                        An individual that has low zinc levels will most likely experience motor disorders and poor neuropsychologic performance. In order to experience growth in the neurological function, one must have to balance the consumption of zinc and other nutrients.

                        Video: Here's What Happens When You Take Too Much Zinc (Cooking Light)

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                        Thinning Hair

                        Zinc deficiency has been associated with hair loss in the past. According to researchers, low zinc levels can cause hypothyroidism, which is the thinning of hair. There have been studies in India that claim thyroid hormones play in important role in the successful zinc absorption of the body.

                        Rashes and Acne

                        Various skin issues can also be linked to low zinc levels in the body. Those who do not consume enough zinc on a daily basis may develop skin rashes and acne. This is because the wound healing process is affected and delayed due to the lack of zinc in the body.

                        Intestinal Permeability

                        Intestinal permeability, also referred to as a leaky gut, is a sign that your body is not consuming enough zinc. There have been clinical studies showing how zinc can tighten the gut.

                        Gallery: You might not be getting enough zinc in your diet (Women's Health)

                        a bowl of fruit sitting on top of a wooden table: Unless you're a die-hard nutrition buff or an expert in biochemistry, you likely only associate zinc with those old-school sticks of sunscreen your mom made you use at the beach. But zinc is also an essential mineral key to a healthy diet.Zinc is necessary for immune function, it helps your blood clot when you're injured, and it helps regulate your blood sugar, says Amy Gorin, R.D.N., owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area.Zinc is indeed crucial to your health, but you only need small quantities. "Women 19 years old and older need 8 milligrams of zinc daily, a pregnant woman needs 11 milligrams, and a breastfeeding woman needs 12 milligrams," says Gorin.While it's easier for your body to absorb zinc from animal sources like meat, eggs, and seafood, there are plenty of zinc-rich, plant-based foods as well. Read on for the best zinc-rich foods for any diet.

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