Zinc: The sexiest micronutrient for men?
By Dwayne N. Jackson, PhD
Zinc is a nutritionally essential trace element that you must get it from your diet. It is found in abundance in oysters and in lower concentrations in red meat and chicken. For vegetarians and vegans, zinc is supplied in grains and nuts, but the phytates present in some of these sources limit absorption. Recent data suggest that zinc is especially important for the maintenance of male hormonal and sexual health, as well as immunity.
Zinc status worldwide
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nearly two billion people in the developing world may be zinc deficient. This is a serious problem since zinc deficiency has been shown to impair cellular repair, blunt testicular function, decrease male fertility and sperm quality, and promote decreased immunity, increased oxidative stress, and increased generation of inflammatory cytokines.
Risk factors for zinc deficiency:
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Vegetarian, vegan, or low protein diet
- Eating disorders
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Heavy sweating
- Certain medications (e.g., ACE inhibitors, diuretics, and heart-burn medications like Zantac and Prilosec)
Zinc and muscle protein synthesis
One of zinc’s fundamental roles is to initiate protein synthesis through activating mTOR, a necessary cell-signaling event for muscle growth. When you put this in the context of health and athletics, zinc supplementation is a crucial supplement if you want to enjoy continuous improvements in well-being and fitness.
Zinc and immune system function
Studies in humans illustrate that even mild dietary zinc deficiency leads to decreased immunity. Cells that regulate the body’s innate immunity, like neutrophils, macrophages, and natural killer cells, all require zinc for ordinary growth. Adequate zinc levels are necessary for various steps in developing a strong immune system, including DNA replication, RNA transcription, proliferation, differentiation and activation of immune cells in many organs of the body.
Zinc and hormonal optimization
In males, zinc influences hormones in several different ways. For example, zinc helps maintain normal levels of thyroid hormones such as triiodothyronine (T3), tetraiodothyronine (T4), and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Zinc also acts directly on endocrine glands such as the pituitary, where it plays a role in the synthesis of thyrotrophic releasing hormone (TRH). Thyroid hormones have several important roles in the body including metabolism, overall growth and development, and body temperature. Research has shown that even mild zinc deficiency can affect thyroid hormone production.
It has been well established that low zinc levels also have a negative effect on blood testosterone in men. A clinical study showed that zinc deficiency in adult males decreases testosterone synthesis in the Leydig cells. In men, Leydig cells, which respond to increases in luteinizing hormone, are key players in testosterone production. Studies have shown that supplementing zinc (to overcome deficiency) can recover testosterone output. In support, a recent study had elite strength athletes complete 4 weeks of exhaustive training with and without supplemental zinc. Those who did not receive zinc supplements had significant declines in testosterone and thyroid hormone levels; whereas, those who received daily zinc had augmented testosterone and thyroid hormone levels.
Zinc and prostate health
Relative to other tissues and body fluids, the prostate has a high concentration of zinc. Adequate zinc content of seminal plasma is needed for men’s health, germination, normal sperm function, and fertilization. Studies have found that low levels of zinc in the prostate are associated with benign prostatic hypertrophy. As such, adequate seminal zinc levels are considered a valid indicator of prostatic health. Zinc and albumin, secreted from the prostate, cover sperm and protects them from damage; thus, zinc supplementation also has a positive effect on sperm motility and has been shown to assist infertile males with chronic prostatitis.
SynerZinc by ATP Lab
So, now that you are considering taking a zinc supplement, let me explain why SynerZinc by ATP Lab should be your first choice. SynerZinc is formulated strategically with copper, selenium, and biotin. An ongoing study tracking the nutritional intake of Americans reports that 75% of adult American’s fail to reach adequate dietary levels of zinc, and none of them meet the minimum recommended intake for copper. Zinc and copper are so similar in their atomic structure that they compete with one another for absorption and utilization in the body's biochemical pathways. When zinc intake is too high relative to copper intake, the excess zinc interferes with the activity of enzymes, which depend on copper to carry out their biological roles. Over use of zinc supplements has resulted in widespread, unbalanced zinc supplementation. Too much zinc, without balancing copper intake, can lead to functional copper deficiency by competing for absorption and interfering with its absorption and metabolism. In fact, research suggests that an excessive ratio of zinc to copper has a negative impact on cardiovascular and skeletal health.
As discussed above, zinc is important for the functioning of the immune system and necessary for optimizing hormones in males. Copper is necessary for many biochemical processes in the body including the regulation of cholesterol levels, red blood cell production, hormone production, antioxidant effects, and others. Choosing a well-balanced supplement containing both vital nutrients is the best way to ensure that the correct balance of zinc and copper is maintained in the body.
Each capsule of ATP LAB’S Synerzinc is formulated using 20 mg of patented L-OPTI ZINC, Zinc mono-L-methionine and 10 mg of Zinc glycinate, two of the most bioavailable forms of zinc. SynerZinc’s unique formulation is balanced with 3 mg of copper with additional support from 50 micrograms of selenium, and 100 micrograms of biotin. Selenium is a trace element that combines with proteins to form antioxidant enzymes (selenoproteins). Selenoproteins are potent free radical scavengers that help to protect cells throughout the body. As well, selenoproteins regulate thyroid function and support the immune system. Biotin, which is a B vitamin known as vitamin H and is an integral component of enzymes involved in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, and the handling of amino acids involved in protein synthesis.
How to use SynerZinc
If you want to give SYNERZINC a try, we recommend taking up to 2 capsules per day, 1 with breakfast and 1 with dinner.
Remember, none of our recommendations are intended to treat a disease or replace a visit to your physician. If you suffer from disease, sickness, or you think you have a mineral deficiency, seek advice from your family physician before using any supplements.
Watch our video on the benefits of ZINC with Synerzinc here.
Türk S, Mändar R, Mahlapuu R, Viitak A, Punab M, Kullisaar T. Male infertility: decreased levels of selenium, zinc and antioxidants. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2014 Apr;28(2):179-85.
Puertollano MA, Puertollano E, de Cienfuegos GÁ, de Pablo MA. Dietary antioxidants: immunity and host defense. Curr Top Med Chem. 2011;11(14):1752-66.
Zhao J, Fan B, Wu Z, Xu M, Luo Y. Serum zinc is associated with plasma leptin and Cu-Zn SOD in elite male basketball athletes. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2015 Apr;30:49-53.
Chu A, Holdaway C, Varma T, Petocz P, Samman S. Lower Serum Zinc Concentration Despite Higher Dietary Zinc Intake in Athletes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Sports Med. 2018 Feb;48(2):327-336.
Fallah A, Mohammad-Hasani A, Colagar AH. Zinc is an Essential Element for Male Fertility: A Review of Zn Roles in Men's Health, Germination, Sperm Quality, and Fertilization. J Reprod Infertil. 2018 Apr-Jun;19(2):69-81.
Rogerson D. Vegan diets: practical advice for athletes and exercisers. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017 Sep 13;14:36. doi: 10.1186/s12970-017-0192-9. eCollection 2017.
Eskici G, Gunay M, Baltaci AK, Mogulkoc R.The effect of zinc supplementation on the urinary excretion of elements in female athletes. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2016 Jan;29(1):125-9.
Baranauskas M, Stukas R, Tubelis L, Žagminas K, Šurkienė G, Švedas E, Giedraitis VR, Dobrovolskij V, Abaravičius JA. Nutritional habits among high-performance endurance athletes. Medicina (Kaunas). 2015;51(6):351-62.
Foster M, Samman S. Vegetarian diets across the lifecycle: impact on zinc intake and status. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2015;74:93-131.
Sanna A, Firinu D, Zavattari P, Valera P. Zinc Status and Autoimmunity: A Systematic Review and Meta- Analysis. Nutrients. 2018 Jan 11;10(1). pii: E68.
Kheirouri S, Alizadeh M, Maleki V. Zinc against advanced glycation end products. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2018 Jun;45(6):491-498. doi: 10.1111/1440-1681.12904. Epub 2018 Jan 22.
Allen GD, Klevay LM. Copper: an antioxidant nutrient for cardiovascular health. Curr Opin Lipidol. 1994 Feb; 5(1): 22-8.
Klevay LM. Lack of a recommended dietary allowance for copper may be hazardous to your health. J Am Coll Nutr. 1998 Aug; 17(4): 322-6.
Leitzmann MF, Stampfer MJ, Wu K, Colditz GA, Willett WC, Giovannucci EL. Zinc supplement use and risk of prostate cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2003 Jul 2; 95(13): 1004-7.
Lowe NM, Lowe NM, Fraser WD, Jackson MJ. Is there a potential therapeutic value of copper and zinc for osteoporosis? Proc Nutr Soc. 2002 May; 61(2): 181-5.
Sandstead HH. Requirements and toxicity of essential trace elements, illustrated by zinc and copper. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Mar; 61(3 Suppl): 621S-624S.
Chmielnicka J, Zareba G, Witasik M, Brzeźnicka E. Zinc-selenium interaction in the rat. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1988 Jan-Apr;15:267-76.
Skrovanek S, DiGuilio K, Bailey R, Huntington W, Urbas R, Mayilvaganan B, Mercogliano G, Mullin JM. Zinc and gastrointestinal disease. World J Gastrointest Pathophysiol. 2014 Nov 15;5(4):496-513.
Kilic M, Baltaci AK, Gunay M, Gökbel H, Okudan N, Cicioglu I. The effect of exhaustion exercise on thyroid hormones and testosterone levels of elite athletes receiving oral zinc. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2006 Feb-Apr;27(1-2):247-52.
Magdalena Jarosz, Magdalena Olbert, Gabriela Wyszogrodzka, Katarzyna Młyniec, and Tadeusz Librowski. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of zinc. Zinc-dependent NF-κB signaling. Inflammopharmacology. 2017; 25(1): 11–24.