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Does Zinc Increase Testosterone Levels?
Everything You Should Know

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: November 13, 2021

Testosterone levels reach their peak during early adulthood and decline with age, medical conditions, and low zinc levels.

As a professional fitness coach, I know how zinc and other minerals affect the body and hormones.

I have advised hundreds of clients on how to increase the total zinc content in the body to increase testosterone.

In this article, I will share zinc's benefits, actions, best sources, and how zinc helps boost testosterone levels.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • Regular endurance exercises, unhealthy diets, and zinc deficiency may reduce testosterone.
  • Signs of low testosterone or hypogonadism include reduced lean body mass, low sex drive, hair loss, and even erectile dysfunction. 
  • Low-intensity exercises, proper food nutrition, and zinc supplementation can promote weight reduction and increase testosterone.

How Does Zinc Work To Raise Testosterone Production?

capsules and pills

Zinc helps to raise testosterone production by collaborating with other hormones effectively.

Zinc is necessary for thyroid hormone synthesis, and its deficiency may result in low thyroid hormone levels known as hypothyroidism [1].

Hypothyroidism slows down the metabolism of testosterone and other androgens.

It has also been linked to high sex hormone-binding globulin, a protein that binds and transports testosterone throughout the body.

Both implications may contribute to symptoms of low T levels in men.

On the other hand, adequate zinc levels help properly metabolize thyroid hormones [2], stimulating the hypothalamus and Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone, or GnRH.

The GnRH then signals the pituitary gland to produce Luteinizing Hormone or LH. Finally, the LH signals the testes to produce testosterone and other androgens [3].

How Do Athletes Benefit From Having Enough Zinc?

shirtless man working out

Athletes benefit from having enough Zinc levels because it helps maintain optimal testosterone levels, leading to improved muscle and bone strength, density, heart health, and cognitive functions.

Health experts suggest that zinc may inhibit the 5-alpha reductase in converting testosterone into a biologically active form, DihydroTestosterone or DHT [4].

Maintaining optimal T levels has also been shown to aid in leaner body composition and stress reduction.

Zinc is loosened in sweat during strength training and weight lifts, so many athletes benefit from a zinc supplement [5].

Upping your zinc intake can provide you with more energy by increasing your metabolism and tissue oxygenation. It also allows faster muscle recovery and repair, resulting in higher workout performance.

Are There Other Health Benefits In Increasing Zinc Levels?

man giving thumbs up in boxers, and a man flexing his arms

Zinc is an essential microelement that is required for many physiological processes in the body.

Some health benefits include:

Strengthening Immune Function

Zinc has a vital role in the proper regulation of the immune system and maintaining useful body functions.

Sufficient zinc levels strengthen the immune system and reduce the risk of an infectious illness by boosting infection-fighting white blood cells and T cells production [6].

Faster Wound Healing

hand view of putting band in on fingers

Adequate intake of mineral zinc along with vitamin C supplements speeds up wound healing.

Both zinc and vitamin C fight against infections and are vital for mature collagen production, therefore stimulating new tissue growth.

Zinc is also involved in the hormonal regulation of cell division and proliferation and DNA synthesis [7], essential for natural skin healing [8].

Improve Male Sexual Health

Zinc may help improve sexual functions and male fertility issues.

When you're facing low libido and even erectile dysfunction, you may probably suffer from low testosterone or hypogonadism.

Increasing your zinc supplement consumption may help boost your serum testosterone

levels resulting in greater sex drive, higher sperm count, and improved sperm quality [9].

Helps In Reducing Inflammation

man with cream in cheeks

Zinc deficiency disrupts the immune system and promotes systemic inflammation. Inflammatory diseases are closely linked to Oxidative Stress (OS).

OS develops when the body lacks enough antioxidants to combat excessive free radical exposure [10].

Zinc helps reduce oxidative stress by acting as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.

Research suggests that supplementing with zinc can significantly reduce circulating levels of C-Reactive Protein or CRP [11], which is an inflammatory marker.

Also, people with low zinc levels are more susceptible to premature wrinkles and acne flare-ups.

Reduces Age-Related Chronic Diseases

Zinc may help reduce chronic illnesses associated with aging.

Since zinc helps decrease inflammation, the development of age-related macular degeneration, a chronic eye disorder, slows down.

Increased zinc intake also supports weight management, thus helping the body manage chronic illnesses such as heart disease and type two diabetes, associated with low levels of testosterone.

What Are The Best Ways To Increase Zinc Levels?

zinc food and pill sources

There are two main ways to increase zinc levels in the body. Either through zinc supplements or a regulated diet made up of foods that are good zinc derivatives. It is up to you to choose a way that best suits your lifestyle or to combine them.

Let's take a closer look at both methods.

Zinc Supplementation

man pouring supplements on his hands

Zinc supplements may act as natural testosterone boosters.

Since food alone does not always provide adequate zinc levels, supplements can meet your mineral requirements regardless of how strict your diet is.

However, there are different forms of zinc, such as gluconate, citrate, sulfate, and monomethionine. Among them, zinc gluconate is the best-absorbed form.

Some people require additional vitamins and minerals in addition to a zinc supplement.

Taking vitamin D in conjunction with zinc has the most evidence of boosting testosterone levels.

In addition, one study found that consumption of the essential mineral supplement magnesium increased total and free testosterone in physically active men.

The study concluded that taking magnesium during a low-resistance workout routine could raise baseline testosterone more than exercise alone [12].

Another study showed that athletes who exercise and take the mineral supplement calcium have higher testosterone, which may increase overall physical performance [13].

Zinc Food Sources

Certain foods high in zinc may help hypogonadism in older adults.

Vegetables such as kale, Swiss chard, and Spinach are rich in nutrition and zinc. Cashew and almond nuts, cheese, and cereals are notable food sources of zinc too.

You can also elevate testosterone by eating oysters and beef, which are excellent sources of zinc [14].

"If you take a multivitamin with zinc or eat oysters every day, your zinc levels are probably within the normal range." - Steven Masley, MD, of the Masley Optimal Health Center in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Maintaining a low-starch diet and eating a variety of foods can help you optimize your health and hormones. But, it would be best to soak legumes and whole grains to reduce phytate, a substance that blocks zinc absorption [15].

Furthermore, eating foods high in vitamin D may help improve testosterone production in conjunction with zinc. Salmon, tuna, sardines, cod liver oil, mushrooms, egg yolks, and fortified foods are high in this vitamin [16].

To summarize, by increasing the zinc content in the blood, testosterone levels also increase.

Getting enough sleep, doing frequent exercise, losing weight, and taking supplements such as Zinc, magnesium, and other multivitamins are crucial for healthy testosterone levels.

How Does Zinc Status Affect Testosterone Levels?

man covering his crouch area

Zinc status affects testosterone by playing an important role in hormone regulation.

Insufficient or excessive amounts of zinc minerals can negatively affect men’s testosterone and overall health.

What Happens When You Have Zinc Deficiency?

When zinc deficient, you may experience symptoms such as hair loss, dry skin, and poor immune functions.

Zinc deficiency causes low testosterone, leading to mood swings, fatigue, decreased libido, sexual dysfunction, and fertility issues.

However, one clinical study in ordinary older men with mild zinc deficiency found an average increase in serum testosterone from 8.3 nmol/L to 16.0 nmol/L, implying that zinc may play a vital role in healthy adults' T levels [17].

More research is needed to confirm the extent to which total body zinc content influences T levels.

Are There Any Side Effects To Having Too Much Zinc?

man holding his stomach in pain

There are relatively mild side effects to having too much zinc, including loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and headaches.

Also, long-term exposure to high zinc dosage may be harmful and sometimes lead to magnesium deficiency, lower immunity, and low good cholesterol levels.

So, it is essential to know how much zinc we need to consume every day.

The recommended dietary allowance of zinc is 11 mg per day for adult men, but the daily upper limit is 40 mg [18].

Bottom Line: Does Zinc Increase Testosterone Levels?

Yes, zinc can raise testosterone levels by aiding normal body functions that result in hormonal regulation and balance.

Testosterone performs a vital role in regulating body mass and helps athletes perform better during workouts.

Supplementing with zinc can also help you improve your immune system, energy, body strength, sexuality, and self-esteem.

Try to eat foods high in zinc, start taking premium zinc supplements, and your testosterone may increase naturally.

Although zinc is proven to help, you should take other measures to increase T levels in some cases. We always recommend that you consult an expert before taking any measures related to your health.


References:

    1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
    2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30982439/
    3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6761896/
    4. https://www.forhims.com/blog/
    5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8220https://www.cnyfertility.com/392/
    6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2277319/
    7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10801966/
    8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2452103/
    9. https://www.cnyfertility.com/
    10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/
    11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30012497/
    12. https://blog.insidetracker.com/
    13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19099204/
    14. https://www.healthline.com/
    15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325021/
    16. https://www.medicinenet.com/
    17. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8875519/
    18. [18] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-Consumer/

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