What is Zinc?
Zinc is among the essential trace elements which are required by our body in a very small quantity. Though they are required in trace amounts, these minerals are essential for proper working and regulation of our body mechanisms. Zinc helps in wound healing, cell growth and division, strengthening the immune system, as well as regulation of different hormones of our body. Zinc is mainly used to treat zinc deficiency which might impair testosterone production.
Benefits of Zinc as a Testosterone Booster
The direct effect of zinc is increase in testosterone production. As a result, the following effects are achieved:
- Increases sperm count
- Increases muscle strength and endurance
- Increases muscle mass
- Provides body shape
- Enhances exercise performance
How Does It Work?
Adequate levels of zinc are required for reproductive health and maintaining hormonal balance in the body. Zinc stimulates the pituitary gland (in the brain) to release a hormone which in turn stimulates the testes to produce testosterone. The testes and prostrate contain high concentrations of zinc, which plays a major role in sperm and testosterone production, as well as muscle endurance. During strenuous and excessive exercise, the testosterone levels of the body drop. But zinc supplements can increase the hormone levels which lead to increased muscle mass and strength.
Zinc is used as a treatment for many medical conditions other than increasing testosterone levels in men. Some other benefits of zinc are as follows:
- Treating slow wound healing
- Parasitic diseases such as malaria
- Used as a treatment for skin diseases such as acne, psoriasis, aging skin and eczema
- It can cure recurring ear infections and common cold
- May be effective against certain eye diseases such as cataracts, night blindness and macular degeneration
- Helps in minimizing andropause symptoms such as mood swings, depression, insomnia and irritability
- It is required for various body functions such as thyroid and immune function, blood clotting, wound healing, and other biological reaction in the body
- Plays an important role in maintaining proper vision
- Might have antiviral activity
- It might be effective for osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis
Sources of Zinc
Zinc is naturally found in dairy products, seafood, meat (especially red), whole grains, legumes, cereals, beans, nuts, oysters and poultry. To avoid zinc deficiency, maintain a balanced diet and include these healthy foods in your diet plan.
Ten elite male wrestlers were given 3 mg/kg/day of zinc supplement for 4 weeks with exhaustive exercise and work out. The study (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) reported that the circulating testosterone was preserved in the men given the zinc supplement, while the group that received the placebo experienced a decline in testosterone levels.
The following table lists the Recommended Daily Amount of zinc according to gender:
|Gender and Condition||RDA of Zinc|
|Boys and men aged 14 or more||11 mg/day|
|Women 19 and older||8 mg/day|
|Breastfeeding women||12-14 mg/day (according to age)|
|Pregnant women||11-13 mg/day (according to age)|
The high dose of 25-45 mg is only in such cases where there is a deficiency of zinc and you have been prescribed by your doctor.
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Zinc is quite safe to use orally or when applied on skin when taken in the recommended dose. Just make sure to consult your doctor before you start on zinc supplements.
Some people might experience the following side effects of zinc:
- Damage to the kidney or stomach
- Metallic taste in mouth
- Tingling, itching, burning or stinging when applied on broken skin
High doses of zinc may cause:
- Stomach pain
A word of caution
- Although zinc is characterized as safe for pregnant and lactating women when taken in the recommended daily amount (RDA), but it can be highly dangerous if the dosage is increased.
- For people having diabetes, it is recommended to be extra cautious with your zinc intake as it can significantly lower blood sugar levels.
- For people who are suffering from AIDS/HIV, it is better to avoid the use of zinc because it might decrease your time of survival.
- If the dose is greater than 10 mg, then don’t take zinc with iron supplement and avoid taking on an empty stomach. It interferes with the absorption of iron
- The continuous use of zinc over the years may increase the risk of prostate cancer.
Zinc is a trace mineral, but an essential one nonetheless. A small amount of the mineral is enough to fulfill your daily requirements and maintain proper growth and functioning of your body. But a zinc deficiency may cause major health problems for you, especially if you are a man. It is required for maintenance of testosterone levels and the deficiency will cause a significant reduction in these levels. However, you can take zinc in supplements form for treatment. The supplementation is also helpful in increasing your muscle mass, strength and endurance which will aid you in building a muscular body. Just make sure to consult with your doctor first and do not exceed the dosage recommended by your doctor or manufacturer. This will ensure that you do not experience any of the serious side effects of zinc.