Zinc: Testosterone’s All-Weather Friend

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We’re hearing more and more about testosterone, whether it is in the news, or in the gym, or even in the science class. One of the reasons why testosterone’s prominence has increased in recent years is the fact that this all-important hormone has been the subject of literally hundreds of studies over the past decade.

What do we know so far?

Testosterone has shown itself to be incredibly vital for many functions inside the male body including helping to keep body fat levels in check, promoting muscle mass, and increasing strength levels. Testosterone’s effects also stretch to quality of sleep, cognitive function, the libido, heart health, and even bone density.

So common sense would suggest that increasing testosterone levels will by default be at the forefront of men looking to remain healthy, and it is. And this brings with it an extremely lucrative industry that is solely focused on offering products designed to increase testosterone.

Studies seem to suggest that certain things will help to increase testosterone levels in a natural manner including:

  • eating protein
  • eating carbs and fat
  • sleeping well
  • performing resistance exercises
  • minimizing stress levels and
  • ZINC!

Zinc: Athletes Will Swear by It!

According to the research director at examine.com, Kurtis Frank, it is quite easy to get plenty of zinc through diets consisting mainly of meat products. Zinc is known to be lost through sweat, and most of us sweat every day. So eating the required amount of meat on a daily basis can prove to be expensive, that’s precisely the reason why zinc supplements are so popular.

Since zinc is lost through sweat, athletes need to take extra care, because the zinc is known to help keep testosterone levels healthy.

Vegans in particular are known to struggle with maintaining healthy zinc levels, and a growing number of these individuals are turning to supplementation.

If you’re the type of person that occasionally doesn’t eat meat on particular days, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to rush and get yourself zinc supplementation according to Frank. He believes that if you routinely eat less than 50% of the recommended daily intake of zinc, only then a supplement would be appropriate.

How Much Is Zinc Is Enough Zinc?

The recommended daily intakes for zinc are between 8 and 40 mg for adults, dependent on sex of a person. The human body cannot tolerate more than 40 mg of zinc in any given day, so too much zinc over a period of time will lead to digestive problems, weakened immune system, and low levels of good cholesterol (HDL).

Although it is true that adequate levels of zinc are vital for maintaining healthy testosterone levels, by massively increasing zinc intake won’t necessarily equate to massive increases in testosterone. The bottom line is that you should get your recommended daily intake that doesn’t exceed 40 mg.

That being said, recommended daily intakes can vary from person to person because somebody who loves regular high intensity interval training will need an extra 15 mg to make up for the extra sweat loss.

Zinc gluconate is what you’ll find in most zinc supplements because it’s easily absorbed and as a result, people with digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome prefer this form of zinc because it is not known to aggravate existing problems.

For healthy athletes for instance, the most commonly found versions of zinc including gluconate, sulphate, citrate, and monomethionine are equally well absorbed by the body, so they don’t necessarily have to be fussy about which kind of zinc this supplement.

But if you’re the type that prefers natural sources, here’s a list of the best foods you should be eating:

  • lentils
  • chicken breast
  • beef
  • crabs and lobsters
  • oysters

As Zinc Supplements Any Good?

The most commonly found in types of the zinc supplements these days are ZMA blends. These blends contain a mixture of vitamin B6, magnesium and zinc and they are extremely popular amongst athletes.

The idea behind the ZMA blend is that magnesium has a correlation to enhanced sleep and recovery, and zinc helps to optimize testosterone levels. So you do the maths!

According to Frank, their vitamin B6 element in ZMA blends serves no real purpose because other than people experiencing weird dreams, there’s no real valid reason why this vitamin should be included.

Maybe this is attributed to old, out of date studies that suggested vitamin B6 works well with zinc when it comes to testosterone production, but more recent research does not substantiate this traditionally held belief.

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