by Matt Weik
Zinc is an essential mineral that the body cannot live without. It plays a massive role in many processes taking place throughout the body, including wound healing and development, functioning of the brain and the nervous system, and fertility. If you are looking at fertility treatment for males, zinc is one of the most essential minerals that have some incredible benefits for sperm quality and overall male fertility.
Zinc plays a role in many bodily functions, including:
- Aiding in protein and DNA synthesis
- Cell division
- Proper functioning of the immune system
- Male reproductive health
Zinc and Male Reproductive Health
There’s no doubt that zinc is vital for overall health. This mineral is involved in immune function, wound healing, blood clotting, thyroid function, and even the breakdown of carbohydrates. But did you know that zinc also plays an important role in male fertility? Not only does it enhance sperm quality, but it may also increase testosterone levels and promote prostate health too. According to studies, zinc and sperm quality are highly linked.
- Zinc is required for the production, maturation, and function of sperm cells. Zinc is also involved in the synthesis of testosterone, which is the male sex hormone responsible for sexual development, muscle mass, and sperm production.
- Many studies have been done to understand the link between zinc and male fertility. The result of these studies has concluded that zinc levels in the seminal plasma are positively linked with male fertility and that zinc supplementation may very well increase semen volume, percentage of normal sperm morphology, and sperm motility.
What is the Zinc Level in Sperm, and How Do They Affect Fertility?
Zinc is generally found in high volumes in seminal fluid. In fact, some studies have shown that zinc is at its most concentration level in human seminal plasma when in comparison with any other human tissue. The concentration of zinc levels in sperm also increases as sperm develop.
In one piece of research, scientists tested the seminal plasma in men and found that the seminal zinc levels were positively associated with male fertility. The results of the research showed that poor zinc nutrition might lead to low sperm quality.
Zinc Supplementation and Its Impact on Sperm Quality
Now that we know zinc plays such an essential role in sperm development, it makes sense that increased levels of zinc can positively impact sperm quality. It is a fact that zinc can be obtained by consuming different foods that are high in zinc, but the best way to significantly increase zinc levels in your body is to take zinc supplements. Zinc supplementation has been shown to have a direct impact on various sperm parameters.
Some other studies have shown that zinc supplementation can also improve sperm motility, specifically in subfertile men who have idiopathic asthenozoospermia or oligozoospermia.
Impact of Zinc for Low Testosterone and Heavy Exercisers
Studies have shown that zinc may play a crucial role in influencing male testosterone levels. Zinc supplements can increase testosterone levels and sperm count for men, having low zinc levels.
One of the main causes of low testosterone is age. Once men hit around the age of 30, their testosterone levels start declining with each passing year. It is also for this reason that many men find it harder to maintain their lean muscle mass and low body fat levels as they age (even if they are engaging in exercise and resistance training).
Research has shown that supplementing zinc can heavily improve testosterone levels in men who participate in high-intensity exercise.
Around 17.3% of the global population suffers from a zinc deficiency. Besides supplementation, it is also important to consume foods that are high in zinc levels. Here are some foods that you should include in your diet plan to increase zinc levels in your body.
Foods High in Zinc Levels
- Oysters: The most highly concentrated zinc food you can eat are oysters. Oysters contain ten times the daily recommended amount of zinc in just 100 grams (3.5 ounces). In one study, scientists found that oysters contain all eight essential amino acids and are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins C and E, and many other minerals.
- Beef: Beef is another excellent source of zinc, with one 3-ounce serving containing almost half the RDA for zinc. The same serving has 12 grams of protein and 2 grams of saturated fat.
- Pumpkin Seeds: A handful of pumpkin seeds contains about 1 mg of zinc. They are also a good source of fiber and unsaturated fats while also having anti-inflammatory effects due to their high concentration of antioxidants.
- Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate is surprisingly very high in zinc per a 100-gram serving. Dark chocolate contains up to 15% zinc by weight! Other minerals found in dark chocolate include calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.