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How zinc can boost testosterone in men

5th March 2020

How does supplementing with zinc influence the level of testosterone in your body? If you're low on zinc and low in testosterone, taking a zinc supplement (or eating foods high in zinc) could increase your testosterone levels. If you're not deficient in zinc, taking more of it may not increase testosterone levels.

Zinc is part of the 24 greatest minerals that are essential for our body. Our body is not capable of synthesizing zinc on its own and we don't have storage systems for keeping an adequate supply of zinc available to us at all times. Therefore, you need to obtain sufficient amounts of zinc in food form or as dietary supplements on a regular basis.

Zinc It is involved in various actions of cellular metabolism. It supports healthy growth and regulates more than 100 enzymes. It is highly related to our reproductive health system and assists in DNA synthesis.

Zinc can be considered as a testosterone booster, which slows down the aromatase enzyme, decreasing the conversion of testosterone into androgen.

Zinc deficiency affects the enzyme complex aromatase that is normally inhibited by zinc. The increased activation results in an excessive conversion of testosterone into estradiol.

In summary, taking a zinc supplement can boost testosterone levels by preventing our body from converting our already-existing testosterone into other chemicals.

Zinc improves testosterone levels among healthy men that are depleted of zinc. However, if you already have an adequate supply of zinc, extra supplementation may not give you any benefit.

How can we tell if we are zinc deficient?

Our bodies have something called the "endocrine system". It is made up of glands that secrete hormones. These hormones regulate functions of our organs and other aspects of our body such as growth, metabolism and sexual function. To maintain the functions of the most vital endocrine system, you need to have at least 15mg of zinc daily.

If you cannot get 15mg of zinc through your diet, you should consider supplementation. Also, consider the fact that zinc will leave your body through sweat. This makes supplementation of zinc necessary for many athletes.

Clinical benefits of zinc supplementation

There was a study where elite wrestlers (who engaged in strenuous exercise) were given 3 mg/kg of zinc on a regular basis for one month. They were proven to have much higher testosterone and thyroid hormone levels compared to the group of placebo which showed a normal decrease in both types of hormones. This can be explained by the fact that the group which belongs to the placebo lost a large amount of zinc through sweating regularly, and their diets weren’t adequate enough to take back the wasted minerals in the body. However, in terms of the supplementation group, the trend was not only limited to maintaining testosterone, but at the same time increase the free and total testosterone levels from the baseline of these two states; exhaustion and rest.

Similar researchers repeated the study using 10 young “male volunteers who are sedentary”, utilizing the same dosage of zinc and the same duration of time. The men were made to perform “fatiguing bicycle exercise” in a span of 4 weeks and just like the study referenced in the above paragraph. This study found that zinc supplementation has the ability to sustain and boost total and free testosterone levels, and also thyroid hormones compared to the group that were given placebo pills.

The two studies above show that among the individuals who work out, zinc supplementation is a great advantage for hormonal health. Both of these studies show effective results in improving free-testosterone levels in people who exercise by taking zinc supplements.

Zinc and chronic renal failure

Zinc helps people with chronic renal failure to increase testosterone. This is a condition that has depleted zinc levels as a symptom. In a study where chronic renal failure participants mega-dosed 250 mg/day of zinc per day, test subjects received significantly higher serum zinc, testosterone, and LH levels.

Zinc as infertility treatment

There was an infertility study that was made up of 37 infertile-subjects. The men were given an undetermined amount of zinc in a period of six months. They found that subjects who had lower levels of testosterone to begin with (less than 48 ng/dL) received a positive increase in DHT and testosterone levels. However, among men that started the study with already-high testosterone levels (more than 480 ng/dL) found no significant improvement. During the infertility study, nine men were able to conceive a child who supplemented zinc.

Foods high in zinc

The following foods are high in zinc. If you prefer getting your zinc by eating food, rather than supplementing, add the following foods to your diet.

Food Serving Size Calories Zinc
Beef 4 oz 175.0 4.09mg
Lamb 4 oz 310.4 3.87mg
Sesame Seeds 0.25 cup 206.3 2.79mg
Pumpkin Seeds 0.25 cup 180.3 2.52mg
Garbanzo Beans 1 cup 269.0 2.51mg
Lentils 1 cup 229.7 2.51mg
Cashews 0.25 cup 221.2 2.31mg
Quinoa 0.75 cup 222.0 2.02mg
Turkey 4 oz 166.7 1.95mg
Shrimp 4 oz 134.9 1.85mg
Tofu 4 oz 164.4 1.78mg
Scallops 4 oz 125.9 1.76mg
Green Peas 1 cup 115.7 1.64mg
Oats 0.25 cup 151.7 1.55mg
Yogurt 1 cup 149.4 1.45mg
Spinach 1 cup 41.4 1.37mg
Asparagus 1 cup 39.6 1.08mg
Mushrooms, Crimini 1 cup 15.8 0.79mg
Mushrooms, Shiitake 0.50 cup 40.6mg 0.96mg
Beet Greens 1 cup 38.9 0.72mg
Summer Squash 1 cup 36.0 0.70mg
Broccoli 1 cup 54.6 0.70mg
Swiss Chard 1 cup 35.0 0.58mg
Brussels Sprouts 1 cup 56.2 0.51mg
Miso 1 TBS 34.2 0.44mg
Parsley 0.50 cup 10.9 0.33mg
Sea Vegetables 1 TBS 10.8 0.33mg
Tomatoes 1 cup 32.4 0.31mg
Bok Choy 1 cup 20.4 0.29mg

Does zinc really boost testosterone levels?

Most likely, yes, at least if you have a mineral imbalance and/or you exercise all the time. In that case, where your zinc levels are already depleted, supplementing with zinc or eating foods high in zinc can help you increase your levels of testosterone.

What if I have low testosterone but am not deficient in zinc?

If you are low in testosterone, but have an adequate supply of zinc, there may be other issues that are lowering your testosterone (such as getting older). In such cases, you may wish to use a testosterone gel to increase the testosterone available to your body. One such supplement is called Testogel, which requires a prescription.