Zinc and IBD:
Zinc is lost through diarrhea, and zinc deficiency, while uncommon, can occur in people who have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), especially those with chronic diarrhea. Other impediments to proper zinc absorption include gastrointestinal surgery and short bowel syndrome. Zinc deficiencies are not as common as they once were because of improvements in nutrition for people with IBD. However, severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies can still occur, and proper nutrition is extremely important for anyone who has Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency:
Symptoms of zinc deficiency include slow healing, weakness, white flecks in the fingernails, and impaired senses of sight, taste and smell. Zinc deficiency can also cause a condition known as acrodermatitis enteropathica. Acrodermatitis enteropathica results in the inflammation of the skin on the elbows, knees, cheeks, mouth, and perineum (area around the genitals and anus).
Treatment of Zinc Deficiency:
Zinc deficiency is often treated with supplements. The best way to avoid a zinc deficiency is to eat a healthy diet, and in the case of people with IBD, treating the underlying disease. Proper treatment of your IBD is the single most important was you can prevent zinc deficiency.
Zinc can be found in these foods:
- Beef, lamb, pork, veal
- Cheese (cheddar, American, gouda, mozzarella, muenster, Swiss)
- Chicken, turkey (dark meat)
- Crab, lobster, oysters, shrimp
- Grains (wheat, rice, wheat germ and products made from these)
- Green peas
- Liver, Heart
- Legumes and lentils
Check with your doctor or nutritionist about vitamin and mineral supplements if you are concerned about these, or any other, deficiencies.