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What is Zinc's role in Men's Health
FITNESS

What is Zinc's role in Men's Health

It’s no secret that all vitamins and minerals play a vital role in keeping our bodies healthy and functioning at their best, but when it comes to men’s health, there’s no denying that zinc is amongst those nutrients at the top of the essential list. 

Zinc can be found in cells throughout the entire body, effectively putting into action numerous zinc-dependent enzymatic reactions and ensuring the proper functioning of many bodily processes, including reproductive system health, immune system function, skin health and antioxidant support, just to name a few.  The vast majority of zinc can be found in the bones and muscles and is essential for the synthesis of male hormones and aspects of sperm health. Zinc has a major role in many facets of male health, so let’s have a closer look at why getting enough zinc is so important.

Zinc and testosterone 

As we age, testosterone levels naturally begin to decline, but there are many other factors which can influence testosterone levels such as medications, diet and existing health concerns.  Inadequate dietary intake of zinc is a big factor, so it’s important to ensure that you are getting enough zinc in your diet on a regular basis. Remember, your body doesn’t store zinc effectively, so it’s important to keep a healthy diet.

Fertility

If you are thinking about having children, keep in mind that good nutrition is paramount for both healthy eggs and sperm. Zinc is responsible for all aspects of sperm health, including both production and motility. Semen quality is also very important as it provides a protective and nutritive environment for sperm, zinc is an important factor for ensuring healthy semen. 

Immune Health

Zinc is important for many aspects of immune health too. The immune cells within the body, such as white blood cells (neutrophils) rely on zinc in order to perform their function effectively and keep us healthy. Due to its antioxidant properties, zinc can help to stabilise cell membranes which may be affected by free radical damage when inflammation has occurred in the body as a result of injury or illness.

Deficiency

Although zinc can be obtained easily through the diet, it is also important to be aware of the ways in which we can lose zinc from our bodies. Zinc can be lost through sweat, so if you’re inclined to spend hours at the gym or have a labour intensive job which leaves you in a sweat, be sure to include zinc rich foods in your diet. Some medications, poor dietary habits such as too much alcohol or diarrhoea can also have negative effects on zinc levels. 

For such a busy mineral only a tiny amount is required to fulfil all these needs. The body doesn’t store zinc reserves so it’s essential to get enough zinc from our diet. 

According to the Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, the recommend daily intake of zinc is 14mg. Zinc is widely available through every day foods, have a look through the list of different foods with high zinc content below, it’s easy to get enough zinc in your diet!

 

Food per 100 grams

Zinc Content

Oysters (cooked)

24.9 mg

Lamb shank

10 mg

Beef (cooked)

8.2 mg

Pumpkin seeds

7.5 mg

Cheese (tasty)

3.55 mg

Almonds

3.5 mg

Oats

2.35 mg

 

Source: www.healthdirect.gov.au

Felicity Downes-Casipit
Author

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