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food sources of zinc

Zinc benefits for men

23 Nov 2022 • 1 min read

Zinc is an essential nutrient that everybody needs – but getting enough zinc is especially important for men, as a deficiency has been linked to lower testosterone levels.1

Because the human body doesn’t naturally produce zinc, we have to ingest it from certain vegetables, seafood, meat, or supplements.

Few people in the developed world suffer from zinc deficiency, as most people have a varied diet.2 However, some groups are at risk, including vegetarians, those with gastrointestinal illnesses (like Crohn’s), pregnant women, and alcoholics.3
 

Why is zinc essential for men?

The health benefits of zinc can benefit everyone, but zinc is especially important for men, because:

  • Zinc deficiency decreases testosterone in men4
  • Higher zinc levels are connected to better prostrate health, and zinc in the prostate functions as a tumour suppressor5
  • One scientific study showed zinc supplements reduce erectile dysfunction in rats (however, further studies are required to show that zinc can treat human erectile dysfunction)6
  • Zinc intake is positively correlated with increased libido7

Different benefits of zinc

Scientific studies show zinc has a wide range of health benefits, including:

Enhanced immune response

A zinc supplement a day is linked to better immune response, fewer infections, and cold symptoms subsiding faster.8,9

Better healing

Zinc supplementation encourages collagen synthesis, which helps the body heal wounds quicker.10

Anti-ageing effects

One study showed that zinc ingestion reduces oxidative stress, which is connected to ageing and age-related diseases.11

Better mental health

Zinc deficiency is connected to increased rates of depression and ADHD. Zinc likely improves mental health, when taken in combination with other pharmaceuticals.12

Combats acne

When zinc is ingested or applied to the skin, it inhibits the ability of acne bacteria to develop and suppresses oil production by glands, for healthier skin overall.13

Zinc benefits for hair

Scientific studies have shown zinc deficiency has another negative impact on human health; increased hair loss in those who are already susceptible.14 Zinc is essential for protein synthesis, which helps the body produce keratin, the protein that’s chiefly associated with hair strength.15

Men suffer from hair loss at an increased rate to women, due to genetic and hormonal factors specific to the male physiology.16 This means taking zinc supplements may help men manage hair loss.

Potential side effects of zinc supplements

Most people take zinc supplements without any adverse effects.

However, zinc supplements have been linked to some side effects, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and stomach ache.17

‘Zinc-flu’ is rare, but can occur in people who ingest more than 40 mg of zinc per day. Symptoms resemble that of the common cold and include fever, coughing, headache, and tiredness.18

People on antibiotics may also want to avoid zinc supplements, as studies show zinc consumption can impede the body’s ability to absorb certain antibiotics.19

Last updated: 22 March 2021

donia-hilal

Donia Hilal

Author

Nutritionist

Joined Holland & Barrett: January 2018

Bsc in Nutrition, Registered Associate Nutritionist and Certification in Pre and Post Natal Nutrition

Donia started her career as a freelance nutritionist, later she joined Nestle as their Market Nutritionist to help support their healthier product range, before joining the team at Holland & Barrett in January 2018.

Donia has over 6 years experience as a Nutritionist and also works with clients on a one to one basis to support their goals which include weight loss, prenatal and postnatal nutrition and children’s health.

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