This trace mineral is involved in thousands of bodily functions — from proper cell growth to testosterone production. Unfortunately, physical activity, food processing, and aging can lead to deficiencies of zinc in our bodies. Avoiding zinc deficiencies is absolutely essential for healthy immune functioning and our overall health. Though zinc is most often used as part of a multivitamin/mineral formula, active individuals, especially athletes, have become interested in zinc because of its important role in testosterone production.
Zinc is found in animal meats, such as beef, liver, lamb, and pork and is especially prominent in oysters. It can also be found in lesser amounts in eggs, dairy, grains, and beans.
Popup: Foods highest in Zinc
The Daily Value for Zinc is 15 mg.
Low levels of zinc are widespread in the United States and are especially common in the elderly, vegetarians, and hard-training athletes. For that matter, any active person may have an increased need for zinc because exercise can increase levels of potentially harmful free radicals. If you want to support a robust immune response, healthy sexual function and testosterone production, and a healthy prostate, zinc is a critical trace mineral you can’t afford to be deficient in.
Deficiency of Zinc has been linked to:
Research indicates that Zinc may also be useful in the treatment of:
This water-soluble trace mineral is found in nearly every cell in our bodies. It’s highly concentrated in bones, skin, hair, nails, eyes, and in the prostate and testes. An integral component of over 200 enzymes, zinc is involved in thousands of functions — from muscle protein synthesis and cell growth to testosterone production and wound healing. It’s probably involved in more bodily functions than any other mineral.
Although zinc is naturally found in our bodies in relatively small amounts, only about two grams total, deficiencies are more common than with any other mineral. Research shows that individuals who are physically active may require additional zinc in their diets because they are at greater risk for zinc deficiencies because of increased sweating. In addition, some recent environmental changes and food processing further compromise zinc from our food supply. Then couple that with aging — the greatest factor in zinc deficiency. What that adds up to is a strong case for zinc deficiency in our bodies. A deficiency that can leave us with minimal testosterone production, susceptible to infections, and with inadequate wound healing when injured.
Low levels of zinc have also been linked to prostate enlargement, diminished sex drive, and infertility. And, studies indicate that as little as one month of low zinc intake can reduce male testosterone levels by 20%. Clearly, this is not a desired state if we are seeking muscle growth or optimal health.
Replace that lost zinc, however, and testosterone levels seem to rise: in one study, patients who typically had low levels of zinc supplemented with zinc for six months.