Muscle Sport Magazine

How much zinc is needed to maintain a healthy level of testosterone?

You may or may not know about zinc, but your body needs it to operate properly. In this article we shall cover the following key points:

  • What is zinc?
  • Deficiency risks
  • Deficiency symptoms
  • Who is at risk?
  • Food sources
  • Hormones
  • Zinc, testosterone, and sperm
  • Supplementation
  • Recommendations
  • Conclusion

What is Zinc?

Zinc is a chemical element that is used as a part of many compounds for its properties.

This mineral is the second most prevalent metal in the earth’s crust. It comprises an essential nutritional element for all living organisms because it’s necessary for the normal functioning of more than 300 enzymes.

Zinc is used as a cofactor or enzyme activator to regulate cell proliferation, cell differentiation, and cell death; it also helps cells grow and repair; and zinc helps to maintain healthy immune function.

What are the risks of a zinc deficiency?

A zinc deficiency can lead to a weakened immune system and mental problems. It is important to know what food sources contain zinc to maintain a healthy diet.

Zinc is an essential micronutrient that is required for the normal functioning of many-body systems, including gene regulation, cell division, neurotransmitter synthesis, and immune function. It is important for tissue growth and wound healing.

Deficiency symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms of this disorder are experiencing a decrease in taste, smell, low libido in males, trouble healing wounds, hair loss & rougher skin.

Who is at risk of a deficiency?

A zinc deficiency is prevalent around the world, and children are at risk due to their high needs relative to their zinc intake. People with alcoholism are also more likely to be deficient in zinc since alcohol inhibits the absorption of zinc.

Athletes are also at risk because of the stresses and demands placed on their body which leads to a high nutrient turnover. Ben Bunting (B.A, PgCert), a sports nutritionist and strength and conditioning coach, notes that “a zinc deficiency can lead to unhealthy weight loss, fatigue and bone health issues that all inevitably reduce performance”.

Zinc is found in many foods, but dietary zinc accounts for only 10% of the zinc needs. The remaining 90% of zinc needs are met through one or more of the following:

1. Absorption of zinc from the gastrointestinal tract

2. Release of stores of zinc from stores in tissues

3. Metabolism of copper and iron to form zinc

Food sources

Zinc can be found in various foods like pumpkin seeds, beef liver, oysters, peanuts, garlic, and shrimp.

Zinc and hormones

Zinc is an essential nutrient for the human body. It is an important factor in maintaining healthy hormone levels.

Low levels of zinc can cause hormonal imbalances, which can lead to acne or hair loss. On the other hand, higher levels of zinc can cause infertility and low testosterone.

What’s testosterone?

Testosterone is an androgen sex hormone that is secreted in both males and females. It is classified as a steroid hormone, and the primary male sex hormone.

Many people don’t know the important role zinc plays in hormone balance and if they happen to be deficient in zinc, men may suffer from various symptoms such as fatigue, depression, and erectile dysfunction.

Testosterone is a hormone that is produced by the testicles. It is responsible for triggering or sustaining male characteristics, such as muscle growth and deep voice.

There are many benefits of testosterone, including:

– It affects the normal growth and development of male characteristics.

– It helps to build bone mass.

– It increases red blood cells in your body to help you with anemia issues.

– It increases libido and sex drive, which can help you to have a better relationship with your partner.

Zinc, testosterone, and sperm

Zinc is primarily found in the late-type II spermatogonia, the Leydig cells, and the spermatids. And, as we know, zinc is vital for the production and secretion of testosterone in humans.

Research suggests that the zinc that is present in semen supports the physiology of sperm whilst the evidence available shows that a zinc deficiency triggers primary testicular failure.


A 1996 study monitoring the effects of zinc and testosterone found that a zinc-restricted diet reduced testosterone levels in normal, healthy men, and supplementation increased testosterone levels in zinc-deficient elderly men.


Zinc is an essential mineral for maintaining a healthy level of testosterone. Deficiency in zinc can affect one’s mood and libido; it can also lead to hair loss.

It’s important to ensure that our diet provides the recommended daily zinc intake for men which is 11 milligrams per day and 8 milligrams for women, if they are pregnant this rises to 11mg and 12 mg during lactation.


An analysis of numerous research papers found that athletes had a higher zinc intake than the general population.

However, even so, the zinc concentrations within the athletes were low, which suggests their demands are higher than those inactive people.

Therefore, it is noted that athletes should take up to 30mg of zinc, and due to the healing benefits of zinc weight lifters are encouraged to increase their zinc intake to help repair muscle damage and promote growth.


Zinc has a major impact on testosterone, fertility, and athletic performance. Unfortunately, there is a high rate of zinc deficiency around the world. Foods often don’t include much zinc, and those not looking to eat meat products may struggle to consume enough.

Athletes are at a high risk of a zinc deficiency due to high nutrient turnover and must ensure they are increasing their intake to accommodate their needs. 

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