A zinc deficiency can cause hair loss by interfering with the normal growth and division of the cells on the scalp, explains MedicineNet. Zinc deficiency also interferes with protein synthesis in the body and can cause hair loss by weakening the hair cells.
Zinc is an important constituent of enzymes that allow chemical reactions such as cell division to occur at normal rates in the body, according to NIH.gov. A zinc deficiency can cause hair loss by interfering with the functions of enzymes, reports MedicineNet.
A zinc deficiency causing hair loss may be the result of insufficient dietary intake of this mineral, or due to the malabsorption of zinc by the body. People most commonly affected by a zinc deficiency include young children, the elderly, pregnant women and breast feeding mothers. People who suffer with gastrointestinal problems, kidney or liver disease and other medical conditions that prevent zinc absorption can also experience zinc deficiency. Additionally, the use of certain medications can cause a zinc deficiency, according to Newsmax Health.
Zinc is also important for a normally functioning immune system and assists the body in wound healing, blood clotting, and DNA synthesis. Sources of dietary zinc include foods such as red meat, beans and nuts, states WebMD and Healthline.