Zinc is an essential dietary mineral that plays a key role in the maintenance of your health.
In fact, it is involved in more than 100 chemical processes within your body. From breaking down foods and nutrients (by helping enzymes) to building new proteins, to assisting your immune system, sex drive, and bone strength… without zinc, your immune system cannot function and your cells won’t properly divide.
Similarly, when your body becomes deficient in zinc, this can trigger a fall in androgen receptors; a rise in estrogen receptors and a potential increase in the aromatization of testosterone (turning testosterone into estrogen).
In all situations, this is not good news for your health, especially when it comes to your testosterone levels, as zinc cannot be stored by your body. The only way to introduce it into your body is through diet or supplementation. So unless you ingest the right amount every day, your zinc and testosterone levels will drop.
Now, it is not uncommon for your testosterone levels to fall with age. However, if your body becomes too deficient in zinc this can result in hypogonadism which can lead to feelings of fatigue, muscle mass loss, reduced sex drive, erectile dysfunction, hot flushes and difficulty concentrating/focusing.
Luckily, this can easily be remedied by consuming up to 11mg of zinc a day.
Given that our bodies cannot store zinc, the easiest and most efficient way to increase your zinc levels is to add it to your diet.
Below we have listed some of the best food sources for this essential mineral:
It is not entirely understood how this dietary mineral impacts on testosterone levels; however, it is believed that alongside influencing cell division and immunity, it can also assist androstenedione.
With the help of zinc, androstenedione can successfully be converted into testosterone, helping to raise your levels.
But that is not all…
Studies exploring the effectiveness of zinc at treating hypogonadism is limited, but what does exist suggests zinc supplementation can help.
Study One: During this study they examined the effectiveness of magnesium and zinc supplements. Participants who took 30mg of zinc per day experienced a rise in free testosterone around their bodies.
Study Two: a separate study revealed that zinc supplements can’t raise your testosterone levels if you’re already getting enough zinc from your diet. During the study, they assessed men who ate the recommended amount of zinc daily. When given a zinc supplement it didn’t increase their levels any higher, although it did help them to maintain it.
Study Three: One study discovered that restricting your zinc intake (from foods) could lower testosterone levels in participants. When given zinc supplements this helped to boost them.
Study Four: A study into the effects of zinc on infertile men (who had either low or normal testosterone levels), showed improvements in testosterone and sperm counts in those with low testosterone. For those with normal testosterone levels, they saw no additional benefits.
What each of these studies shows, is that zinc has the potential to boost testosterone levels in anyone who is deficient in zinc; who has got low testosterone levels, or who regularly partakes in strenuous physical exercise. If your zinc or testosterone levels are normal, supplementing zinc won’t make a difference.
ZMA is a supplement used by athletes which combines zinc with magnesium and Vitamin B6. Through this powerful combination, it can help zinc to achieve even greater testosterone boosting results, as Vitamin B6 can enhance its absorption into your body.
Study One: During a study performed by Western Washington University; when they examined the effect of these nutrients on the body, they witnessed improved anabolic hormone profiles and muscle function within athletic participants (strength-trained varsity college football players).
NOTE: now typically, if you get enough zinc in your diet it, supplementation won’t increase testosterone production. However, this study proves that physical stress from exercise can increase your need for zinc, enabling ZMA to work.
Study Two: When given to wrestlers every day for a whole month, they were found to have significantly higher testosterone and thyroid hormone levels than those given the placebo (those belonging to this group saw an actual decrease in both of these hormones due to their heavy workload).
Study Three: In one study that examined the impact fatiguing bicycle exercises could have on sedentary male volunteers (over a 4 week period), the introduction of zinc to their diet helped them to maintain and even increase their total and free testosterone levels (compared to those in the placebo group).
And that is the question!
On the one hand, there is no denying that zinc can make a massive difference to your health, if your testosterone or zinc levels are low. However, what all of the above studies prove is that the circumstances have to be right.
This means that unless you are already suffering from low zinc and testosterone levels (which happens more often than you think due to aging, physical stress/intense exercise and diet); adding zinc supplements to your diet won’t make a difference to your testosterone levels.
You need to be deficient first.
Similarly, research points to the benefits of using complex formulations. Sure, zinc on its own can help. But for optimal results – combining zinc with the likes of magnesium and Vitamin B6 can help to increase absorption and maximize testosterone production and elevation.
For that reason alone, if you’re doing a lot of endurance/strength training or you have got a genuine deficiency in this mineral; then using a complex formulation such as ZMA or TestoGen can give you the best results in the shortest amount of time.
It is important to get your zinc dosage for testosterone just right. Most complex zinc formulations recommend that you take 10-20mgs of zinc a day (preferably alongside magnesium and Vitamin B6). This should be enough to support your body and keep it healthy.
NOTE: You should never consume more than 40mg of Zinc a day, as too much zinc can be harmful and cause toxicity. Should you ever feel nauseous, vomit, have a headache or suffer from diarrhea/stomach cramps, speak to a doctor.
Given the number of products which claim to boost testosterone, but actually can’t; it is nice to be able to say that zinc CAN increase testosterone.
Study upon study has proven that it can assist those suffering from low zinc or testosterone levels, as it can help to bind SBHG; free up more testosterone and aid in the conversion of androstenedione into testosterone.
The only thing to remember is – if your diet already sufficiently supplies you with enough zinc or your testosterone levels are normal, then you won’t see a difference in these levels if you start taking a zinc supplement. You have to be deficient in either in order to benefit.
Similarly, for optimal results, it is better to take zinc as part of a complex formulation rather than on its own. Products such as TestoGen can help to accentuate the health benefits of zinc and improve its absorption rate. In doing so, you can enjoy bolstered testosterone levels every single day.
So if you’ve got a zinc/testosterone deficiency or physical stress/strenuous exercise is harming your levels; then why not consider adding more zinc to your diet? By supplement or by diet, it can make a real difference to your body.