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Mineral deficiencies, including zinc deficiencies, are becoming more common in many regions around the world because of nutrient-depleted soil. Poor soil reduces the mineral content in the grains, fruits and vegetables that are grown in it. Zinc deficiency can also result from malabsorption problems in your intestines, but inadequate dietary intake is the primary cause. A lack of zinc hampers your immune response and affects your ability to metabolize fats and vitamin A, which are needed for healthy skin. Dry and stinky feet are obvious and relatively common symptoms of zinc deficiency.
The earliest visible symptoms of zinc deficiency are white marks on your fingernails, acne, scaly skin around your face and feet, and foot odor.
Stinky feet are a common occurrence, at least occasionally, for a lot of people. The most common cause is sweaty feet that are trapped within poorly ventilated footwear. Sweat doesn’t often smell bad by itself; dark, moist areas promote proliferation of bacteria, and their waste products are the primary cause of body odor.” Socks made of synthetic fibers and nylons seem to promote stinky feet the most. You may sweat profusely from your hands and feet due to anxiety or hormone imbalance, which increases the chances of foot odor, but poor hygiene is a more common cause of stinky feet. Toxic build-up in your body or a poorly functioning liver can also cause your sweat to smell badly, regardless of hygiene or footwear. Foot odor from zinc deficiency is a much less common cause and a poorly understood one.
Zinc and Foot Odor
Why zinc deficiency causes foot odor in some people is not well understood. If zinc deficiency is the cause of your stinky feet, then your feet will most likely be dry and scaly too, as may your face, elbows and knees.
Sources of Zinc
Good natural sources of zinc include:
- red meat
- dairy products
- “Contemporary Nutrition”; Gordon M. Wardlaw; 2010
- National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements -- Zinc Fact Sheet
- “Human Biochemistry and Disease”; Gerald Litwack; 2008
- “Doctor's Complete Guide to Vitamins and Minerals”; Mary Dan Eades and Philip Lief; 2002
- “Nutritional Sciences”; Michelle McGuire; 2007
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