30 Sec Answer: Yes, zinc does increase testosterone levels. However, it is important to note that research suggests this only happens when people have a zinc deficiency and consume supplemental zinc. Otherwise, consuming more zinc than the body needs has not been found to provide additional benefits in terms of testosterone production.
Testosterone is an essential hormone for male reproductive health, as well as having many other roles in the body. Testosterone plays a key role in bone health, cognitive functioning, red blood cell production, fat metabolism, and sex drive. As such, it’s no surprise that men are interested in increasing their testosterone levels. One way they might consider doing this is by supplementing with zinc, but does zinc really increase testosterone?
What Is Zinc?
Zinc is a trace mineral found naturally in foods like seafood, beef, chicken, dairy products, legumes and some grains. It helps regulate hormones and enzymes throughout the body and is also important for wound healing and immune function. Zinc can be supplemented orally or applied topically on the skin. It’s available over-the-counter at most drug stores or online.
Does Zinc Increase Testosterone?
Yes, studies have shown that taking zinc supplements can increase testosterone levels if someone has a deficiency in this nutrient. A 2017 study found that taking 30 mg of elemental zinc per day increased testosterone levels in healthy adults who were deficient in this nutrient. However, there was no significant change in those who already had adequate levels of zinc before supplementation began.
How Does Zinc Increase Testosterone?
The exact mechanism behind how zinc increases testosterone is still unknown but scientists believe it could be due to its effects on the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis. This is a system of hormones and receptors which regulate sexual development and reproductive functions including sperm production and the release of luteinizing hormone (LH) which stimulates the production of testosterone. Studies have suggested that a lack of dietary zinc may interfere with normal HPG functioning leading to decreased testosterone levels whereas supplementing with zinc can help restore balance to this system resulting in increased levels of circulating testosterone.
Most studies suggest that 10–30 mg of elemental zinc per day is sufficient to improve hormonal balance and increase testosterone levels if someone has a deficiency. However, it’s important to note that excessive amounts of this nutrient can lead to side effects such as nausea or vomiting so it’s best to speak with your doctor before starting any supplementation program. Additionally, too much zinc may cause copper deficiency since these two minerals compete for absorption so you should also talk to your doctor about checking your copper levels regularly while taking zinc supplements if necessary.
Food Sources Of Zinc
In addition to taking supplements, eating foods rich in zinc can help maintain optimal levels of this essential mineral in the body. Some good sources include oysters (76 mg/serving), beef (7 mg/serving), crab (6 mg/serving), cashews (4 mg/serving), yogurt (3 mg/serving) lentils (3 mg/serving) and chickpeas (2 mg/serving). Aiming for 8–11 mg per day from food sources should be enough for most people without having to take additional supplements.
Potential Benefits Of Increasing Testosterone Levels With Zinc
Increased testosterone can lead to numerous potential benefits including improved mood and libido, increased muscle mass and strength gains from exercise as well as enhanced overall physical performance. In addition to these physical benefits, increased testosterone may also help boost mental clarity and reduce feelings of depression or anxiety. Finally, higher testosterone levels have also been associated with improved cardiovascular health since they help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels while increasing HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind).
Potential Side Effects Of Taking Too Much Zinc
Consuming excessive amounts of zinc can lead to adverse side effects such as nausea or vomiting as well as diarrhea or stomach cramps if taken on an empty stomach. Additionally, too much supplemental zinc can interfere with copper absorption leading to copper deficiency symptoms such as fatigue or weakened immunity so it’s important to monitor both nutrients closely when supplementing with either one individually or together as part of a multivitamin formula. It’s also worth noting that prolonged use of high doses (>50mg per day) has been linked to decreased HDL cholesterol so this should be kept in mind when considering using large amounts for extended periods of time.
Summary – Does Zinc Increase Testosterone?
Overall, yes – research suggests that supplementing with 30 mg per day of elemental zinc may increase testosterone levels if someone has a deficiency in this nutrient but will not provide additional benefit beyond meeting the body’s daily needs otherwise . Additionally, consuming too much supplemental zinc can lead to adverse side effects such as nausea or vomiting while long term use at high doses may decrease HDL cholesterol levels so caution should be exercised when taking larger amounts than what’s recommended on product labels or advised by healthcare professionals