Testosterone is a hormone that in many ways helps men be men. It plays a significant role in maintaining a healthy sex drive, it helps build and maintain muscle and keeps bones strong. The body is designed so that the levels of testosterone produced are at their highest during early adulthood. It will then naturally begin to decline as part of the aging process. If, however, these levels fall too low, then you can develop a condition called hypogonadism.
Hypogonadism May Be Caused By Zinc Deficiency
It is normal for testosterone to be produced at lower levels as a person ages. But what is normal and natural is different than when someone begins to experience abnormally low levels of testosterone. Hypogonadism is a condition that exists in men that is also known as gonad deficiency. When this develops it means that you no longer produce enough sex hormones and even though your gonads are being signaled by the brain they are unable to respond appropriately.
There are many potential reasons why a man might develop this condition but one of the big issues found in many parts of the world including the UK and the US is a zinc deficiency. This is one of the causes of this type of condition. In fact, a deficiency in zinc causes this condition in both humans and animals.
Zinc Deficiencies Have Become A Global Concern
There are a lot of vitamins and minerals and other nutrient deficiencies that often are found as headlines in the newspapers and magazines but there is a crisis when it comes to Global zinc deficiencies. According to some estimates, a full one-fourth of the world’s population, which represents almost 2 billion people, are significantly deficient in zinc. Recognized studies done by such institutions as Oregon State University and others are saying that this needs to be recognized as a significant concern.
Being deficient in zinc can make a person more vulnerable to infectious disease, damage their DNA, lead to the development of cancer, and reduce a person’s immune function. It has also been linked directly to producing less testosterone which often leads to hypogonadism. Oddly enough this is not just a problem in developing countries but also in the developed world.
One of the reasons why a deficiency in zinc has not made the headlines the way other deficiencies have is the fact that it is not yet fully understood exactly how the body absorbs zinc and how to test a person properly to see if they have appropriate levels or not. Zinc is something that the body doesn’t hold and has to be replaced regularly within the body. When the body doesn’t have enough zinc it causes all kinds of problems.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the Journal of Nutrition, DNA is often damaged when there’s not enough zinc in otherwise healthy men. When men began to consume healthy levels of zinc many of the health-related issues were resolved. On the flip side, if consumed through supplements there is a danger of consuming too much and this can mean that other nutritional components are blocked from being absorbed.
Five Signs That You May Be Deficient In Zinc
1. Wounds Don’t Heal As Fast As They Once Did
There are all kinds of instances where in normal life you might get a papercut, a scratch, or a scrape. This is especially true if you enjoy sports or exercise. If in the past you never paid much attention it because you would always quickly heal but recently you’ve noticed that it takes you longer, then it could be an indication that you have a zinc deficiency. This mineral plays a part in how the skin heals. Because of this, when a person is deficient in the mineral then their skin simply can’t heal as quickly.
2. Bald Patches
Balding and male pattern baldness can be caused by a number of factors. If, however, you begin to notice bald patches then it may not be a genetic predisposition but the fact that you are deficient in zinc. This mineral plays an important role in how tissue can grow and repair itself. It also impacts hair follicles and oil glands and how they do their job.
When you become deficient in this mineral it can slow hair growth and it can lead to hair loss. It can cause skin problems that lead to patches where your head goes bald. There is a clear link between being deficient in this mineral and developing bald patches.
3. Loss Of Taste
A person’s ability to taste food can help them in eating nutritiously and it can give them a desire to eat healthier foods. Those who lose their ability to really taste the flavors of food are often driven to eat artificially flavored foods with high sugar and salt so that they can feel that the food tastes good. If someone is deficient in zinc this can play a role in losing the ability to taste food. This can then lead to poor eating habits which further exacerbate the problem.
One of the reasons this happens is that the body needs zinc in order to make alkaline phosphatase. This is the most common enzyme found in a person’s taste buds. When someone is no longer able to produce it then they lose their ability to taste food well.
4. Vision Loss
Like all the other symptoms that have been mentioned, this is something that could be caused by some other problem. Even so, if you are noticing some of the other symptoms as well as this one, then it could well mean that it is a sign of zinc deficiency. Your eyes naturally have high levels of this mineral and it’s found in part of your retina. It helps to transport vitamin A from your liver to your retina and this, in turn, creates protective pigments.
This is clear evidence that this mineral is very important to the health of your eyes. If you begin to notice that you have poor night vision than this might be another indication of a deficiency in this mineral. Consuming foods high in this mineral or supplementing has been found to help if a deficiency is the reason for the vision loss.
5. Tinnitus Or Other Hearing Problems
Tinnitus is a problem that is growing in many populations as well as other hearing issues. Low levels of zinc have been linked to the development of tinnitus. In some studies, when those with hearing loss were treated with zinc supplements, their hearing improved. Currently, there are not enough studies to clearly show this deficiency as one of the leading causes of tinnitus or hearing loss but there’s certainly anecdotal evidence to suggest that it could be one of the causes.
Other Signs You May Have A Zinc Deficiency
If you have some signs that make you concerned that you might be deficient in zinc then there is a simple way to give you a better idea. You can get liquid zinc sulfate and put some in your mouth. If you immediately taste the heavy metal, then you’re probably not deficient. But if you don’t taste any metallic like tastes then it’s a good sign you’re probably deficient.
If when you first put the liquid in your mouth you don’t notice any metal taste but then after a slight delay you get the taste in your mouth, then this indicates that you are mildly deficient. If you immediately taste metal but only slightly then you’re probably fairly good but slightly deficient. Obviously, this is a rudimentary test but it will give you a better understanding of whether or not you might be deficient.
Is There A Connection Between The Production Of Testosterone And Zinc Deficiency?
There is clear and definitive evidence that if you are moderately or severely deficient in zinc then this has a direct impact on hypogonadism. This is when a man fails to produce enough testosterone. If this happens it will mean that they will produce less semen when they ejaculate, their overall sperm quality will be less, and they will have a significantly reduced sex drive. This also means that they will enjoy sex less and they are less likely to perform well which will often lead to performance anxiety.
The body converts cholesterol into testosterone and this process doesn’t work as well when you are zinc deficient. This mineral also reduces the amount of estrogen produced in a man and it inhibits an enzyme that can convert testosterone into estrogen. This means when you are low in zinc your testosterone will be reduced and estrogen will be increased.
Can A Man Produce More Testosterone When They Have Higher Levels Of Zinc?
This is an essential mineral that is important for the endocrine system and men’s testicles are part of that system. To produce testosterone at normal levels it is important that you have zinc and other micronutrients at sufficient levels. The question that is often posed is whether or not zinc actually can increase a person’s levels of testosterone. The answer is that it is believed to be able to do so.
This mineral is able to increase testosterone by inhibiting other hormones and allowing more of the testosterone produced to be available. There are studies that show the influence this mineral has on testosterone and men tested were found to have increased levels. The main reason seems to be the fact that SHGB is inhibited which allows more of the testosterone to be available.
One study showed that men who were sub-fertile increased their sperm count by almost 75% after taking a zinc supplement. Low sperm is often an indication of low testosterone. In the same study, the men who had normal levels of fertility also had their sperm count raised when supplementing with this mineral.
Another study supplemented zinc and magnesium over a six-week period and had an 80% increase in the participant’s testosterone levels. Other studies have found similar results and even in those done over longer periods of time, it was similarly found that testosterone levels were noticeably improved. Even in athletes who have very good levels of testosterone found that they could further increase it by consuming more of this essential mineral.
How Much Zinc Should A Man Take If They Want To Increase Testosterone?
When it comes to the question of how much, it is important to remember that you can take too much of this mineral and high levels of zinc can reduce your body’s ability to absorb copper. How much you take can depend on whether or not you are very active or sedentary. You will find that there are some recommendations as high as a hundred mg a day but this is very high and even under the right circumstances should only be done for a short period of time.
Most people will not want to take a hundred mg per day. 80 mg is likely the maximum you will usually want to take and the average person will likely want to look at taking somewhere between 15 mg to 50 mg. Anytime there is a question about safety you should consult with a healthcare professional that can help you determine what is right for your situation.
Something that needs to be kept in mind is the fact that consuming more zinc or supplementing this essential mineral can be very helpful for those who are deficient. Those that are not deficient, however, will not always get an added boost. Men who have sufficient levels of testosterone and are deficient in zinc were sometimes found to have their testosterone levels boosted when they supplement it but if they had sufficient levels of this essential mineral already in their bodies then supplementing does not increase testosterone.
What Sources Of Food Contain Zinc That Can Help Increase Testosterone?
Oats can help you lower your cholesterol levels and increase your level of zinc which can then help with your testosterone. It can make a delicious breakfast or a filling dinner. Other grains like rice are also a source of zinc but their levels are lower than what you’ll find in this food.
Although this food has less zinc than oysters it’s often less expensive and enjoyed by more people. Alaskan crab is probably the best choice. This is a delicious and healthy source of this essential mineral.
Who said that good nutrition isn’t delicious? Dark chocolate won’t necessarily satisfy your sweet tooth but it will give you a good source of zinc. Dark chocolate has a number of other good qualities and it makes it a good choice as long as you don’t overdo it.
This is a relatively inexpensive and delicious food that can be used with a number of dishes. Other cheese can also be a good source as well. This food is convenient and can be consumed as a snack as well as with the main meal. It can be placed on sandwiches, salads, as well as a topping for meat.
When you cook certain foods it reduces the nutritional elements found in them. When it comes to the zinc found in eggs there will be the same amount regardless of whether they’re consumed raw or cooked and regardless of how you cook them. If you like them scrambled or over easy or cooked well done or as an omelet, you can enjoy them the way you want them.
Vegans and vegetarians may worry about whether or not they can get enough zinc because they don’t want to consume meat. But there are vegetables that are good sources of this essential mineral. Chickpeas are a good example of this. Spinach would be another example of a vegetable that is a good source of zinc.
Suggested Reading: Other foods that can boost testosterone
Can Taking Zinc Supplements Raise Testosterone As Much As Consuming Foods With The Mineral?
There are some that want to benefit from increased levels of zinc without having to necessarily consume the foods that this mineral is found in. This makes it natural for them to wonder if they can just supplement and get the same benefits. It’s also a concern if you’re trying to take upwards of 50 mg of zinc per day because consuming enough food to get this amount might be difficult.
Although you probably don’t want to only supplement, if you do take zinc in pill form along with consuming foods with the mineral, then it might be a good choice. In most cases, you’ll want to take a supplement that has several nutrients together so that the body will get the best benefit from it. This is true in part because consuming high levels of zinc can reduce the body’s ability to absorb some other nutrients such as copper.
When you take a multi-nutrient supplement it helps the body to have the balance that the body wants. That is one of the reasons why consuming foods is often very effective. The food naturally has several nutrients found in the right balance. When you learn to combine foods in a way that you get optimal nutrition then it can give the body what it needs to work its best.
In the modern world, however, it is quite normal and natural for people to not always have the time to eat perfectly. Not only time restraints but also a person’s personal taste and their schedule and other factors all play a part in whether or not they’re going to consume a diet that provides all the nutrition that they need. This is why supplementing can be an effective part of improving your body’s levels of zinc and testosterone.
It is important to remember, however, that supplements are meant to do just that. You should eat a diet that is as good as you can and then take supplements to help you get the nutrition that you are deficient in with your diet. When you approach supplementation this way you’ll get the optimal result.
Do remember that it is possible to consume too much zinc and that could cause harm to your body. This means you do need to understand how much you should take and you should also understand how it can impact your body’s ability to absorb other nutritional components such as copper. When you have the right understanding and you consume a healthier diet along with proper supplementation then you can get the optimal result.
There is a definite link between zinc deficiency and low levels of testosterone. Even so, if you suspect that you have low testosterone you should seek out the advice of a doctor or healthcare professional. They can help you determine if it is zinc or other factors that may be causing the condition. Once you have determined that you have a zinc deficiency then you can follow the guide above to help you in consuming a diet that has a good source of this mineral along with supplementation.
You do want to make sure that there aren’t any underlying reasons that are causing you to be deficient in this mineral. Sometimes the body has some issue that prevents you from being able to absorb some nutritional components even though you’re consuming a diet that would be otherwise sufficient. The good news is that there are a number of studies that have demonstrated that men can increase their levels of testosterone by increasing the amount of zinc they consume daily.