When it comes to minerals and nutrients we tend to look at them from A-Z.  Some of you may have heard about the eyesight benefits of getting enough Vitamin A, the energy benefits of supporting Vitamin B12, and the immune boosting benefits of supplementing with Vitamin C.  However, we cannot forget to look at one of the last minerals of our A-Z list, Zinc.  Zinc, although alphabetically low on the list, is one of the most common minerals and it is found in soil, air, water and is present in all of our foods. It is necessary in our bodies for the functioning of over 200 enzymes and plays a vital role in many biological processes, including the production of cells for our body’s immune system and hormonal production.

Why is zinc necessary for your health?

Zinc became well known after zinc lozenges became popular to help boost your immune system during an illness.  Although zinc is very important in helping maintain optimal immune function, it is also responsible for healthy collagen production, vision, and carbohydrate and protein metabolism.  In addition to these benefits zinc also plays an important role in men’s health and wellness.

Boosts endurance and performance

Make sure you have enough zinc on days where you are going to the gym, traveling, or just have a need for high energy and endurance.  Zinc facilitates the conversion of energy in food into energy for work and enhanced physical function. Insufficient zinc is associated with reductions in endurance, muscle strength, and cardiorespiratory function.

Supports heart health

Zinc’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties are beneficial for reducing risk factors associated with atherosclerosis. In a study of 40 healthy older adults, supplementation with 45 mg of zinc gluconate daily for six months had a positive impact on factors associated with atherosclerosis when compared with participants who received a placebo.

Supports testosterone production and libido

That’s right; zinc is responsible for healthy testosterone production.  In one study, normal men ranging in age from 20-80 years old were divided into two different groups.  One group, which had normal starting zinc levels, spent 6 months avoiding zinc rich foods, and the second group with slightly low zinc levels supplemented with additional zinc.  The men who restricted zinc showed a decline in testosterone concentrations, while the group who supplemented resulted in an increase in baseline testosterone levels.. This is one of many studies showing zinc’s important role in boosting and supporting testosterone production.    Partially due to its ability to boost testosterone levels, zinc has also been credited with boosting libido and sexual function in men.  A 2010 review of studies on men with kidney disease reported that use of zinc supplements can not only increase testosterone levels but also improve the potency and frequency of sexual intercourse.

Improves prostate health

And last, but definitely not least, zinc has shown benefits in preventing and treating prostate cancer.  Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death among men.  Research continues to support zinc’s role in helping prevent prostate cancer and reduce the affects after diagnosis.  The prostate gland accumulates zinc at a rate of 10 to 15 time’s higher concentration than other body tissues. The presence of adequate amounts of zinc in the prostate appears to help suppress prostate tumor growth.  One study showed that men who took more than 15 mg of zinc had a 66 percent reduction in their risk of developing advanced prostate cancer.

As you can see, zinc plays a vital role in men’s health and their ability to live optimally.  Work with your healthcare provider to determine if zinc supplementation is right for your individual needs.  If you decide you could benefit from supplementation, I prefer zinc chelate or zinc glycinate due to their ability to be easily absorbed.

To Optimal Health,
Christina Grace FNP-C

Christina Connors Grace is a certified family nurse practitioner and registered nurse. She brings a passionate, caring approach to patient care with a wealth of experience in women’s and family medicine.

Email appointments@centrespringmd.com to schedule a visit with Christina Connors Grace.

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Categories: Men’s Health