Does Zinc Increase Testosterone (Men & Women)?

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The Pure TheraPro Team

The Pure TheraPro Education Team is comprised of researchers from diverse backgrounds including nutrition, functional medicine, fitness, supplement formulation & food science. All articles have been reviewed for content, accuracy, and compliance by a holistic integrative nutritionist certified by an accredited institution.
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Zinc is a crucial micronutrient that plays a fundamental role in numerous biological processes. It is essential for immune function, DNA synthesis, and cell division. One of its critical functions is its involvement in hormone production, particularly testosterone, which is essential for both men and women.

Testosterone is a steroid hormone that is primarily produced in the testes in men and the ovaries in women, with small amounts produced by the adrenal glands in both sexes. It plays a significant role in the development of male reproductive tissues, muscle mass, bone density, and body hair. For women, testosterone is important for maintaining libido, bone strength, and muscle mass. Low testosterone levels can lead to various health issues, including fatigue, depression, and decreased libido in both men and women.

The Essential Role of Zinc in the Human Body

Zinc is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the human body, making it an indispensable micronutrient. It supports several critical biological functions:

Immune Function

Zinc is crucial for the normal development and function of cells mediating innate immunity, neutrophils, and natural killer cells. It also plays a role in the adaptive immune system, particularly in T lymphocyte production and function.

Wound Healing

Zinc helps maintain the integrity and structure of skin and mucosal membranes. It is often used in topical treatments for wounds and skin ulcers.

DNA Synthesis and Protein Production

Zinc is necessary for DNA synthesis and protein production. It acts as a cofactor for DNA polymerase, an enzyme critical for DNA replication.

Growth and Development

Zinc influences growth and development, particularly during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence. It is essential for cellular growth and differentiation.

Endocrine Functions

One of the most critical roles of Zinc is its impact on the endocrine system, particularly in hormone production and regulation. Zinc influences the synthesis and action of several hormones, including insulin, growth hormone, and testosterone.

Connection Between Zinc and Hormone Production

Zinc is crucial for maintaining hormonal balance, including the synthesis and regulation of testosterone. It influences the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis, which is responsible for regulating testosterone production. Zinc also plays a role in the regulation of enzymes and proteins involved in testosterone synthesis, making it essential for maintaining adequate testosterone levels.

Approximately 12% of the U.S. population is at risk for Zinc deficiency, with higher rates among older adults (up to 40%!!) and those with chronic illnesses. Certain populations are more susceptible to Zinc deficiency, including pregnant women, young children, the elderly, and individuals with gastrointestinal diseases or on restrictive diets.

Zinc deficiency can lead to a range of health problems, including impaired immune function, hair loss, diarrhea, delayed sexual maturation, impotence, hypogonadism in males, and eye and skin lesions. Severe Zinc deficiency can cause growth retardation in children and adolescents.

Are Zinc and Testosterone Related?

Numerous studies have shown a direct link between Zinc deficiency and lower testosterone levels. Research indicates that individuals with low Zinc intake often exhibit decreased testosterone levels, which can lead to various health issues.

Zinc regulates testosterone synthesis by influencing the activity of luteinizing hormone (LH), which stimulates the production of testosterone in the testes. Zinc is also involved in the metabolism of testosterone, ensuring that the hormone is available for the body's needs. Furthermore, Zinc acts as a cofactor for enzymes that are crucial for testosterone production, highlighting its regulatory role in maintaining optimal testosterone levels.

In the U.S., an estimated 2.1% of men suffer from hypogonadism, a condition characterized by low testosterone levels. Symptoms include reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, decreased muscle mass, and mood changes. In women, low testosterone can contribute to reduced sexual desire, fatigue, and decreased bone density, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.

Connection Between Zinc and Hormone Production

Zinc plays a crucial role in maintaining hormonal balance, influencing the production and regulation of various hormones:

Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Gonadal (HPG) Axis

Zinc is involved in the HPG axis, which regulates reproductive hormones, including testosterone. Zinc deficiency can disrupt this axis, leading to hormonal imbalances.

Testosterone Synthesis

Zinc acts as a cofactor for several enzymes involved in testosterone synthesis. It helps regulate the production of luteinizing hormone (LH), which stimulates testosterone production in the testes.

Enzyme Regulation

Zinc is essential for the function of enzymes that are critical for hormone metabolism. It supports the activity of 5-alpha-reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into its more potent form, dihydrotestosterone (DHT).


Practical Aspects of Zinc Supplementation

Optimal Dosage and Safety

The recommended daily intake of Zinc varies by age, sex, and life stage. For adult men, it is 11 mg per day , while for adult women, it is 8 mg per day (these are the RDAs set by the FDA, not necessarily the optimal daily intake). Signs of Zinc deficiency include hair loss, delayed wound healing, and impaired immune function. However, excessive Zinc intake can lead to toxicity, with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and reduced immune function. Therefore, it is essential to follow safe supplementation guidelines and consider individual needs.

Dietary Sources of Zinc

While Zinc can be obtained from various dietary sources, factors such as phytates in plant foods can inhibit Zinc absorption, posing a challenge for individuals relying solely on plant-based diets to meet their Zinc needs. That said, animal-based options rich in Zinc include oysters, red meat, and poultry. Plant-based sources include beans, nuts, and whole grains. 

Animal-based sources of Zinc are among the richest, with oysters topping the list. Six medium oysters provide about 32 mg of Zinc, making them the most Zinc-rich food. Red meats like beef, lamb, and pork are also excellent sources. Poultry, including chicken and turkey, offers good amounts. Dairy products like cheese, milk, and yogurt contribute smaller amounts of Zinc to the diet.

Plant-based sources of Zinc are also significant but generally contain less Zinc compared to animal-based foods. Legumes, including beans, lentils, and chickpeas, are notable sources; a cup of cooked lentils contains about 2.5 mg of Zinc. Nuts and seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, cashews, and almonds, are rich in Zinc. Whole grains like quinoa, oats, and brown rice offer Zinc as well, with a cup of cooked quinoa containing about 2 mg. Certain vegetables, such as mushrooms, spinach, and broccoli, contain modest amounts of Zinc.

 Factors Influencing Zinc Absorption

  • Phytates: Found in whole grains and legumes, can inhibit Zinc absorption.
  • Dietary Fiber: High-fiber diets can reduce Zinc absorption.
  • Animal Protein: Enhances Zinc absorption due to amino acids that aid uptake.
  • Cooking Methods: Soaking, fermenting, and sprouting can reduce phytate levels.
  • Other Minerals: High levels of calcium and iron can compete with Zinc for absorption.

Types of Zinc Supplements

Zinc supplements come in various forms, each with different absorption rates and efficacy. The most common forms include chelated Zinc, Zinc Gluconate, and Zinc Picolinate.

  •  Chelated Zinc: This form of Zinc is bound to organic molecules, such as amino acids, to enhance absorption. Chelated Zinc is known for its high bioavailability, meaning the body can absorb and utilize it more effectively than other forms. Among chelated forms, L-OptiZinc™ L-Methionine Zinc Complex (which we use in our Zinc Defense™ formula) stands out. This formulation binds Zinc to the amino acid methionine, ensuring optimal absorption and bioavailability. L-OptiZinc™ has been shown to be more effectively absorbed and retained longer in the body compared to other forms of Zinc.
  •  Zinc Gluconate: Often used in lozenges and over-the-counter cold remedies, Zinc Gluconate is a widely available form of Zinc. While effective, it may have lower absorption rates compared to chelated Zinc.
  •  Zinc Picolinate: This form is Zinc bound to picolinic acid and is noted for its absorption efficiency. Zinc Picolinate is a popular choice for those looking to boost their Zinc levels effectively due to its high bioavailability, but it is not as bioavailable as Zinc bound to the amino acid methionine.

Choosing the right form of Zinc supplement and combining it appropriately with other nutrients like Copper and Quercetin can maximize its benefits and ensure optimal health outcomes. The L-OptiZinc™ L-Methionine Zinc Complex is the most effective form of chelated Zinc on the market. This Zinc offers enhanced absorption and efficacy, making it an excellent choice for those seeking to improve their Zinc intake effectively.

L-OptiZinc™ is considered the superior chelated form on the market for several reasons:

  • Enhanced Absorption: The chelation process increases the bioavailability of Zinc, meaning it is more easily absorbed and utilized by the body compared to other forms of Zinc.
  • Methionine Binding: Methionine is an essential amino acid that enhances the stability and absorption of Zinc. When Zinc is bound to methionine, it is more effectively absorbed and retained in the body.
  • Efficacy: Due to its superior absorption and retention, L-OptiZinc™ is more effective in providing the health benefits associated with Zinc, such as immune support, hormone regulation, and overall cellular function.

Combining Zinc and Copper in Supplements

It is recommended to take Zinc supplements that also contain Copper. High doses of Zinc can interfere with Copper absorption, potentially leading to deficiency. A combined supplement ensures that both minerals are adequately absorbed, maintaining a healthy balance and preventing potential health issues. Copper is essential for various bodily functions, including iron metabolism and the maintenance of healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves, and immune function. Our Zinc Defense formula combines both in one effective supplement.

Combining Zinc and Quercetin in Supplements

Combining Zinc with Quercetin, a flavonoid that acts as a Zinc ionophore, can significantly enhance Zinc's bioavailability. Zinc ionophores, like Quercetin, help transport Zinc into cells, improving its utilization within the body. This combination supports immune function and overall health. Quercetin facilitates the entry of Zinc into cells, allowing it to exert its full potential & range of health benefits much more effectively. However, taking these supplements together is crucial, as the absence of one can limit the effectiveness of the other. That’s why we formulated  Zinc Defense with Quercetin as an ionophore.

Holistic Strategies for Testosterone Health

Zinc Supplementation Protocols

Effective protocols for optimizing testosterone through Zinc supplementation involve combining Zinc with other vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Vitamin C. These combinations can enhance the overall benefits and improve hormonal health.

Lifestyle choices play a significant role in maintaining Zinc and testosterone levels. A balanced diet rich in Zinc, regular exercise, limited alcohol consumption, and adequate sleep are essential. Stress management techniques, such as meditation and mindfulness, can also improve hormonal health by reducing cortisol levels, which can negatively impact testosterone.

Scientific evidence supports the link between Zinc and increased testosterone levels. Maintaining optimal Zinc levels is crucial for overall health, particularly for hormone production and regulation. Practical advice includes consuming a balanced diet rich in Zinc, considering supplementation if necessary, and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

The most effective Zinc Supplement

Zinc Defense™ is a unique bio-enhanced formulation containing clinically-backed ingredients specifically designed to support your body's adaptive and innate immune function.

L-OptiZinc™ is a unique mineral-amino acid chelate which is capable of transporting Zinc across the membrane and into the cell where it is required most. This form of Zinc is proven to have 24% better absorption than Zinc Oxide.

Albion's® TRAACS® Copper Bisglycinate Chelate is paired with Zinc to create a powerful antioxidant enzyme for defense against oxidative stress while maintaining the body’s delicate Zinc-Copper balance.

Quercefit™ which is the most activated and bioavailable form of Quercetin in the world, is proven to enhance absorption by more than 20x resulting in a higher Zinc concentration in the body’s cells thanks to its role as an ionophore (Zinc transporter).

Clinically Effective Formula

  • Quercefit® is a highly bioavailable form of quercetin that uses phytosome technology, proven to significantly enhance absorption. 
  • Pairing L-OptiZinc® and Copper provides the ability to develop a crucial antioxidant enzyme - Copper-Zinc Superoxide Dismutase, a key defense mechanism against oxidative stress and free radical damage. 
  • Zinc is a key player in your body that supports immune function, while Copper is vital for functions such as energy production and blood cell formation.


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O’Dell, B. L. (2000). Role of Zinc in Plasma Membrane Function. Journal of Nutrition, 130(5), 1432S-1436S.

Beck, F. W., Prasad, A. S., Kaplan, J., Fitzgerald, J. T., & Brewer, G. J. (1997). Changes in cytokine production and T cell subpopulations in experimentally induced Zinc-deficient humans. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, 272(6), E1002-E1007.

Hunt, J. R. (2003). Bioavailability of iron, Zinc, and other trace minerals from vegetarian diets. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 78(3), 633S-639S.

Prasad, A. S., Mantzoros, C. S., Beck, F. W., Hess, J. W., & Brewer, G. J. (1996). Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults. Nutrition, 12(5), 344-348.