Zinc is important for men’s health for several reasons. In males, second to bone, the prostate has more zinc in it than any other tissue in the body. The body does not produce zinc, so you need to get it from diet or supplements. Zinc promotes immune function; supports healthy cell growth, healing and development; and plays a role in maintaining prostate health, sexual health and testosterone levels.
Following are five reasons why men need zinc.
Zinc For Prostate Health
Zinc is known to promote prostate health. This mineral is found in large concentrations in the prostate gland. If you become deficient in zinc, it could make you more susceptible to infections and prostatitis, an inflammatory condition of the prostate.
Studies have shown a reduced risk of advanced prostate cancer in men who took more than 15 mg of zinc daily with a zinc supplement. Zinc is recommended for men who are having a prostate biopsy, because it promotes prostate health and can fight the possibility that the biopsy will cause an infection. Scientists at Johns Hopkins University and the Agricultural Research Service have reported that prostate cancer tissue has significantly less zinc in it than healthy prostate tissue.
Zinc prostate health benefits are also important for patients concerned about an enlarged prostate. Oregon State University had a study that looked at the anti-proliferative effects of zinc in benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) cells and prostate cancer cells. When they treated the cells with zinc for 24 hours and 48 hours, they found that the BPH cells were more sensitive to the anti-proliferative effects of the zinc. This led the authors to conclude that “zinc may serve an important role in regulating cell growth and apoptosis in prostate cancer and hyperplasia cells.”
Zinc For Sexual Health
People often think of oysters as an aphrodisiac, and oysters’ high zinc content could be one of the reasons why.
Zinc is one of the sexiest minerals for men. Zinc influences a man’s fertility, sex drive and long-term sexual health. A study on zinc’s effect on testosterone levels in men ages 20 to 80 showed that restricting dietary zinc lowered testosterone levels, while taking zinc supplements increased testosterone production.
As men age, testosterone levels begin to decline naturally. When testosterone levels get too low, men may experience low libido and erectile dysfunction among other effects of low T. Zinc can help balance hormones like testosterone prostate and sexual health.
Zinc For Slowing Down The Balding Process
Not getting enough zinc can result in sudden hair loss. Zinc encourages hair growth by improving the function of the immune system. Hair loss can be due to mineral deficiencies and to heredity, but getting a regular amount of zinc can slow down the balding process. In fact, one of the signs of a zinc deficiency is hair loss as well as a dry, flaky scalp.
Zinc For Thyroid
Thyroid hormones have many vital roles in the body affecting metabolism, development and even body temperature. Zinc is one of the key minerals that helps the body maintain proper thyroid function by producing hormones in the brain called thyroid-releasing hormones. These hormones signal the pituitary gland to start making thyroid-stimulating hormone. If men are low in zinc, they may fail to produce enough of these hormones. That can also affect testosterone levels, causing symptoms of low T. Low zinc is associated with low active thyroid hormone. Consuming alcohol can make this situation even worse. Men with low thyroid who drink alcohol should especially consider a zinc supplement.
Zinc As An Antioxidant
Zinc is an antioxidant important to cell repair. Our cells get damaged from strenuous exercise, yard work and other activities. We store zinc in our muscles, where the mineral is involved in building cells, providing proper cell structure and repairing damaged cells that have broken down. Zinc helps muscles grow back bigger and stronger.
In addition to cell repair, zinc helps to promote immune function that fights illnesses like the common cold and heals skin wounds.
How To Get Zinc
Foods high in zinc include oysters (which are extremely high in zinc), other seafood, beef, poultry, fortified cereals, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, cremini mushrooms and low-fat yogurt. But since men trying to prevent prostate cancer cell growth should strive to avoid eating red meat and dairy, they can acquire zinc in prostate supplements for men’s health, especially formulations designed to promote prostate health such as Prost-P10x.
Zinc citrate is more bioavailable than the less-expensive and commonly found zinc sulfate. The recommended daily allowance is 11mg for adult males. Avoid supplements that provide significantly more zinc, because there can be negative health risks associated with having too much zinc.
Yan M et al. Differential response to zinc-induced apoptosis in benign prostate hyperplasia and prostate cancer cells. J Nutr Biochem 2010 Aug; 21(8): 687-94