Zinc deficiency can weaken and deaden taste buds, causing food to taste differently. This can lead to a decrease in appetite, notes Health Guidance. Taking a zinc supplement can bring zinc levels up to normal and restore a dull appetite.
Zinc deficiency is common in young children, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and the elderly, according to News Max. In addition to supplements, zinc nutritional deficiency is treated by increasing the daily intake of zinc-rich foods, such as wheat, oats, eggs, milk, nuts, shellfish and red meat. Increasing daily intake of vitamins A, E and B6, as well as calcium, can help the body better absorb zinc. Taking too much iron can also interfere with zinc absorption. The daily average zinc intake is 9 milligrams for adult women and 13 milligrams for men, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.
Patients with zinc deficiency should consult a physician before taking zinc supplements, cautions News Max. Excessive zinc intake can be toxic, leading to nausea, vomiting, headache and abdominal pain, and ultimately, organ failure.
In addition to a decreased appetite, other signs of low zinc include disturbances in sleep, poor wound healing, hypersensitivity to smells, and in hair loss and dryness of skin, notes the Nutritional Supplements Health Guide.