Zinc is an essential mineral needed for human survival. Our body cannot synthesize without zinc, nor can it store zinc. So, it is important to dose with adequate amounts of zinc through diet or supplements.
Zinc performs some key functions:
- It is involved in numerous cellular metabolism processes
- Regulates over 100 enzymes
- Supports healthy growth
- Plays an important role in maintaining reproductive health
- Helps in DNA synthesis
It is also known to be a potent testosterone booster, which acts by inhibiting aromatase enzyme, thereby reducing the conversion of testosterone to estrogen.
Severe zinc deficiency is associated with hypogonadism, a condition in which the body does not make enough testosterone. This can lead to a broad range of male health problems including:
- Infertility and low libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Inability to grow a beard
- Loss of muscle strength
- Weak and fragile bones
- Brain fog and fatigue
Role of zinc in men’s health
Zinc is a key nutrient for supporting healthy testosterone levels. It boosts testosterone in various ways including:
- Acts as raw material for testosterone. Your body cannot make testosterone without zinc.
- Helps protein synthesis and maintains healthy testosterone levels: Zinc is concentrated in the Leydig cells in the testes, and signals for synthesis and release of testosterone. It also prevents the sharp drop in testosterone levels during intense exercise.
- Reduces prolactin levels: This female hormone can otherwise reduce testosterone levels.
Research on the ability of zinc to stimulate testosterone levels
Several studies have been conducted to investigate the role of zinc in maintaining healthy testosterone levels. Many of these studies have found a positive correlation between zinc and testosterone levels. Here is a summary of some of these studies.
The effect of exhaustion exercise on thyroid hormones and testosterone levels of elite athletes receiving oral zinc
In this study, ten elite male wrestlers, average age 18 years, were administered 3mg of zinc sulfate per kg of body weight for four weeks. Their testosterone and thyroid hormone levels were determined as exhaustion and resting before and after zinc supplementation. It was found that:
- Exhaustive workouts led to a significant inhibition of both testosterone and thyroid concentrations. However, a 4-week zinc supplementation prevented this inhibition
Impact of oral zinc therapy on the level of sex hormones in male patients on hemodialysis
The study involved 100 male patients with end-stage renal disease on hemodialysis. Researchers determined the Testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), prolactin, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), zinc plasma levels of all the participants. The patients were then given a 250 mg zinc supplement daily for six weeks. The sex hormones and zinc plasma levels were checked again at the end of the study period and researchers found:
- Increase in testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), and serum zinc levels
- No change in prolactin and -stimulating hormone (FSH) levels
Effect of fatiguing bicycle exercise on thyroid hormone and testosterone levels in sedentary males supplemented with oral zinc
This study included 10 participants who did not exercise. The participants were administered 3mg per kg body weight oral zinc sulfate daily for four weeks alongside their normal diet. Researchers determined their testosterone and thyroid levels at rest and after bicycle exercise both before and after supplementation. It was found that:
- Thyroid and total and free testosterone levels decreased after a workout compared to resting levels before zinc supplementation
- Both fatigue and resting hormone levels were higher after four weeks of zinc supplementation compared to the fatigue and resting levels before supplementation
Why you may need zinc supplementation
There is enough scientific evidence to show that zinc is an effective testosterone booster particularly in those people who engage in exhaustive workouts. However, despite these benefits, many men don’t get enough of it. Nearly a third of world population suffers from mild to moderate levels of zinc deficiency.
Zinc deficiency can occur due to several reasons. Coffee consumption can hinder zinc absorption and increase zinc excretion from the body. If you are taking protein supplements, chances are they might be interfering with zinc absorption. Zinc levels start lowering with age as well. So, it may become necessary to take zinc supplements to restore the normal levels.
Dosage and side effects
Zinc supplements can boost testosterone levels and offer several other health benefits, but too much zinc can be harmful too. How much is too much? Zinc toxicity can occur in men if they take more than 40 mg per day. Some common symptoms of zinc toxicity are:
- abdominal cramps
Note: For some reason it has become popular to mega-dose with 100mg of zinc for testosterone. We really don’t recommend this. For your own safety we recommend no more than 40mg per day.
Zinc can help stimulate testosterone levels, especially if you are deficient in the mineral or you work out a lot. It is important to maintain adequate zinc levels, not only for boosting testosterone but for overall well being as well.