Zinc and Testosterone

Proper nutrition has long been known to be a supportive factor in human health. The human body is a complex organism in which many activities, such as the functions of the reproductive system, are hormonally driven. Adequate levels of vitamins and minerals help ensure that the body’s hormonal systems will function optimally, and one mineral that is now receiving attention for its role in testosterone production is zinc.

Testosterone is a male sex hormone that affects bone density, distribution of body fat, muscle growth, muscle strength and muscle mass. It is also involved in red blood cell production, libido or sex drive, and sperm production. Deficiencies in testosterone can result in a decreased sex drive, a decreased sense of well-being, depression, difficulties with concentration and memory and erectile dysfunction. While a wide variety of medical conditions such as cancer of the testes and genetic disorders can cause low testosterone, the most likely reason for a decline in testosterone is aging.

Zinc is a trace metal element found in a variety of foods, as well as in zinc supplements. Zinc is necessary for immune function, wound healing, blood clotting, thyroid function, and much more. Meats, seafood, dairy products, nuts, legumes, and whole grains have relatively high amounts of zinc. Oysters, long reputed as an aphrodisiac, are one of the best sources of zinc, but other proteins, such as beef shanks and Alaskan King crab, also contain zinc. Males age 14 and older need 11 milligrams per day, but a typical North American male already takes in about 13 milligrams per day. Zinc deficiency is unusual in the West, but it could occur because of intestinal disorders that interfere with food absorption, alcoholism, chronic kidney failure, and some chronic debilitating diseases. Too much zinc, can cause fever, coughing, stomach pains or fatigue.

Zinc’s relationship to testosterone has been studied, with conflicting results. One study reported that a zinc supplement called ZMA did raise serum zinc levels, but showed no effect on testosterone levels. A study of wrestlers who developed low testosterone levels after exercise-induced exhaustion were studied. This study indicated that zinc supplementation could reverse the decline in testosterone.

Another study noted that men who had demonstrated low fertility and men with low or no sperm both had low testosterone and low serum zinc levels. The researchers felt this suggested a possible connection between testosterone and zinc. There isn’t enough evidence that taking zinc orally is helpful for treating male sexual problems, so taking zinc can’t be considered a cure for sexual dysfunction, but supplementing will most likely raise testosterone levels back to normal levels in cases of excessive exercise.

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7 comments for “Zinc and Testosterone

  1. September 19, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    I take zinc from time to time but usually just when I feel like I might be getting sick. Usually it knocks it out. I wouldn’t mind supplementing with it but I worry about taking too many supplements too. I mean at what point is it too much? You always hear about how you should take this and that and the other, but how many dang pills are okay? I really try to limit it to a multivitamin, fish oil and flaxseed oil in terms of pills.

    • Lifestyle and Strength
      September 19, 2012 at 6:40 pm

      I wouldn’t bother with flax oil, it’s not of any value if you’re taking fishoil. Flax seeds yes, but not the oil. I take zinc in conjunction with magnesium and B6 in dosage that mimics ZMA dose. If you train hard you are definitely deficient in zinc and magnesium, that’s a certainty. I personally don’t take a load of vitamins, but fishoil, zinc and magnesium are on the must have list!

      • September 19, 2012 at 8:03 pm

        Thanks as always for the tips! I’ll finish up my bottle of flaxseed oil and not get more. BTW are there certain things I should look for in my fishoil? Been working on upping my dosage, but nothing like yours! 🙂

        • Lifestyle and Strength
          September 20, 2012 at 11:51 am

          I prefer the high potency fishoil. The lower dosage adds up to 300 grams of EPA/DHA meaning that the other 700 grams of each capsule are pure fat. I’m all for a high fat diet, really I am, but I like to choose the fats.

          • September 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm

            Just picked up some Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega. Kind of studied up on the high potency stuff. I think I was taking crap before. BUT that being said with as expensive as this is (I don’t mind, I’ll spend for health) I can’t imagine how expensive it would be to take 30 grams a day. Would a bottle of 180 of them not even last you a week?

          • Lifestyle and Strength
            September 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm

            My method is definitely not the most financially efficient, but far better for me, and cheaper, than many other options. That’s my justification to myself at least!

          • September 22, 2012 at 4:35 pm

            Haha hey whatever it takes! If it works I don’t blame you one bit!

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