Everything You Need to Know About Zinc and Testosterone

zinc and testosterone

Afraid of plummeting testosterone levels, becoming weak and infertile, along with catching the common cold?

Don’t worry, zinc is there to help you out – in this article, we’ll tell you the correct zinc dosages for testosterone, plus much much more.

Zinc is an essential mineral which is known for boosting testosterone levels and the immune system – enabling it to fight colds and viruses. However, this is not its only benefit.

You see, zinc is actually involved in many bodily processes. It helps [6] :

  • Improves testosterone levels
  • Create DNA
  • Fight off inflammation and illnesses such as cancer and heart disease
  • Heal injuries
  • Kills free radicals and oxidative stress
  • Improve your cognition and thinking

Not only that, but zinc is crucial for the production of testosterone and growth hormone. It also helps grow and repair your muscles – keeping them strong and healthy. [1, 4]

In fact, zinc deficiency is linked to low testosterone, infertility, weak immune system, small and deflated muscles, and other dysfunctions. [2, 35]

That’s precisely what we’re going to look into in this article.

What is Zinc?

Zinc is an essential mineral. This means your body can’t produce it on its own and you need to get it from the diet.

When you think of zinc, the first thing that probably pops into your mind is a natural cold remedy. So in other words, you only need it when you get sick.

But that’s far from reality.

In actuality, you need small amounts of zinc every single day. It’s absolutely essential to maintain your health and perform various tasks throughout the day. [7, 8]

A Look at Zinc’s Benefits

Zinc is beneficial in many ways. For starters, it helps regulate hormone production. This includes testosterone and growth hormone.

It also improves digestion, helps your body kill off pathogens, acts as a powerful antioxidant (killing free radicals), and fights inflammation and disease. [9, 10, 11, 12]

These are just a few of zinc’s benefits, and there are more.

That’s right, zinc is present in all tissues in your body and is absolutely crucial for a healthy cell production and division processes.

As an anti-oxidant, zinc helps fight free radicals. Free radicals are responsible for the aging of your body, and Zn helps slow this process down. [18, 19]

Zinc’s importance on hormones is so big that even a small deficiency can lead to infertility and low testosterone. In more severe cases, a deficiency in this mineral causes diabetes. [1, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17]

If you’re getting sick often, or if you feel tired all the time, it could be due to low zinc levels. Without enough of this mineral in your diet, you’ll constantly feel exhausted, have poor concentration and focus, and your wounds won’t heal as fast. [20]

To sum it up:

Zinc is mineral that’s essential for our health. A deficiency in this nutrient leads to various ailments, from poor testosterone and deflated muscles to weak immune system to chronic fatigue. In some cases, it can even lead to diabetes and infertility.

Zinc Deficiency – Overview and Symptoms

A deficiency in zinc is not uncommon. According to studies, a deficiency in this mineral in prevalent in many countries around the world, including the USA. [1]

Low zinc levels often mean that a person doesn’t eat enough nutrient-dense foods. It can also mean that a person has trouble absorbing the minerals due to digestive issues such as the leaky gut.

Foods which have the most zinc are those that are also high in protein. These include animal products (especially meat), and seafood.

You’ll also find a good amount of zinc in legumes and grains, and cereals which are artificially fortified with the mineral. However, these foods are one of the worst ways of getting zinc in your diet. Let me explain why…

The type of zinc that’s found in grains and cereals is bound to phytates. Phytates are anti-nutrients which prevent absorption of the mineral.

So even if you’re eating plenty of grains, chances are you won’t get nearly as enough minerals as you’d get from meat – due to anti-nutrients in the food.

In fact, research suggests that a high intake of carbs, especially those that are processed, is the main reason for the rise of zinc deficiency amongst people. With processed carbs replacing high-quality animal meat, it’s no wonder that nutrient deficiencies are becoming more and more common. [21]

Who’s Most at Risk?

Anyone who follows a vegan or plant-based diet is at the highest risk of deficiency in zinc. But there are other groups of people who might be deficient too.

They include those who suffer from digestive issues, have poor diets, and take many medications. If you drink alcohol regularly (2 times per week or more), you can also become deficient in this mineral very quickly. [22]

Lastly, anyone who takes drugs, both legal and illicit, is at a higher risk of mineral deficiencies. [23]

Common Signs Of Deficiency

Here are the biggest signs to look out for if you suspect a zinc deficiency [24];

  • Getting sick often
  • Hair loss
  • Unexplained weight fluctuations
  • Weak and deflated muscles (sign of low testosterone)
  • Low libido and sex drive (also a symptom of low testosterone)
  • Low energy and motivation
  • Digestive issues, such as stomach cramps and diarrhea
  • Poor memory and focus
  • Wounds that won’t heal or heal slow

To sum it up:

Zinc deficiency is a common sight in the U.S. and the rest of the world. People who are at biggest risk are plant-based eaters, carb lovers (carbs contain anti-nutrients which block zinc absorption), and anyone with digestive issues. Zn deficiency leads to weak muscles, low testosterone, getting sick often, and feeling tired all the time – among other issues.

Zinc and Testosterone

Testosterone is an incredibly important hormone for men. It doesn’t only make you appear confident and strong, it also plays a key role in your overall health. [25, 26, 27]

Testosterone peaks at the age of 19 on average, and stays high until your early 30s. After which it slowly starts to decline as you age. Not to worry though, this is a normal part of the aging process and it’s how our bodies work.

However, when your testosterone drops too much and too early, is when things go south. Many things can cause low testosterone; from stress to sedentary lifestyle to deficiencies in nutrients such as zinc.

That’s correct – low Zn levels lead to weak testosterone, as we’ve already established. Furthermore, it can also cause infertility, prostate issues, and low sex drive. All of which I’ll explain in a second.

By getting enough zinc either through the diet or supplementation, you ensure a healthy hormonal balance – including increased testosterone and low estrogen (female hormone).

Zinc Boosts Testosterone During Vigorous Exercise

An exercise that’s too intense can sometimes reduce T-levels in the short-term. However, studies show zinc supplementation negates this.

In one study, researchers gave 3mg/kg of the mineral to the group of men who underwent exhaustive bicycle exercises.

They found that these men had higher testosterone levels than those who didn’t take any supplement. Better yet, Zn prevented a drop in testosterone even during the most exhaustive exercises. [28]

In another study, researchers gave the mineral supplementation to a group of elite wrestlers. Before supplementation, these wrestlers experienced a temporary drop in testosterone levels during intense exercise.

But now, that they added zinc to the mix, the exact opposite happened – their total and free testosterone improved significantly, even after strenuous workouts. [29]

Zinc Helps Treat Infertility and Boost Androgen Hormones

In one study, Zinc supplementation increased anabolic hormones, including testosterone and DHT (dihydrotestosterone). It even increased androgen levels in infertile men.

In fact, Zn was so strong that it not only boosted their T-levels, it also enabled them to conceive a child during the study. They were in a hurry! [30]

Zinc Supplementation Fixes Low Testosterone

There aren’t many studies on zinc treatment for hypogonadism. But the ones that we have, look extremely promising.

One study, in particular, looked into the effects of zinc supplementation for men who suffered from low testosterone.

They found that 30mg of Zn daily led to greatly improved free testosterone levels in these men. [4]

Improves Prostate Health

Although all of your cells can absorb zinc, your prostate cells seem to love it the most. This is mainly because the prostate requires a lot of the mineral for proper functioning.

In one large study with over 35 thousand men, it was shown that 15mg of Zn supplementation daily reduced the prostate cancer risk by a huge 65 percent. [31]

Does it Boost Your Testosterone if You Already Have Optimal Zn Levels?

While Zn is certainly essential for boosting testosterone in those who suffer from deficiencies, it doesn’t appear to be so effective in men who already have optimal levels of the mineral.

Such was the case with this study, where they gave Zn supplementation to a group of men who ate a diet rich in this mineral. The results showed that additional zinc didn’t help them increase testosterone any further. [32]

However, bear in mind that these men already ate a varied and nutrient-dense diet. This was done in an ideal scenario – which is far from the reality that most men experience nowadays.

Getting optimal levels of Zn through the diet is hard. But this study shows us that if you can have a perfect diet all the time, then you might not need any supplementation.

To sum it up:

Zinc is a key player in testosterone production. Sub-optimal levels of this mineral are shown to cause low testosterone. According to studies, Zn supplementation helps increase androgen hormones (including testosterone), boost libido, and treat infertility. However, other studies point out that Zn might not work for you if you already have optimal levels of this mineral.

Best Zinc Sources


In an ideal scenario, optimal Zn levels can be obtained from food.

If you’re a man and over 19 years of age, you need at least 11mg of the mineral daily.

With that in mind, here are the best food sources of Zn[33]:

  • Oysters, 1 ounce (28 grams): 25.4mg (157% daily value)
  • Lamb, 3 ounces: 2.9mg (35% daily value)
  • Grass-fed Beef, 3 ounces: 2.6mg(32% daily value)
  • Chickpeas, 1 cup cooked: 2.5mg (31% daily value)
  • Cashews — ¼ cup: 1.9mg (23% daily value)
  • Pumpkin seeds (12) — ¼ cup: 1.6mg (20% daily value)
  • Yogurt (or Kefir) (13) — 1 container of plain yogurt/6 ounces: 1mg (12.5% daily value)
  • Chicken (14) — 3 ounces: 1mg (12.5% daily value)

As you can see, there are certain foods which, in generous amounts, can provide you with way more Zn than your really need. However, there are no reported side effects of too much Zn from food. So eat away. [34]


Not everyone can eat a perfect diet every day.

In such cases, getting optimal levels of Zn is easily achieving through high-quality supplementation.

Below I’ll be covering the best types of Zn, how to supplement, and more.

Supplementing With Zinc

Zinc is found in many supplements, from multivitamins to testosterone boosters. However, it’s important that you differentiate types of Zn in these supplements, because that will tell you a lot about their quality.

High-quality supplements use some of these types of Zn:

  • Monomethionine
  • Aspartate
  • Gluconate
  • Picolinate
  • Chelated zinc

These forms of Zn have the highest bioavailability. Meaning they get absorbed efficiently by your body.

On the other hand, zinc oxide is the worst form of the mineral, so avoid that one. It can cause cramps and diarrhea.

The optimal dosage for Zn is, as I’ve said, 11mg daily for men. However, any dosage between 10-20mg daily will do just fine.

How much is too much?

While zinc is fairly safe in low dosages (around 10mg daily), it can cause side effects in doses higher than 40mg daily. Even less than that in sensitive people.

Taking such high dosages of Zn over a long period of time is no good. It suppresses body’s absorption of certain trace minerals, such as copper. This can interfere with your body’s functioning and cause health problems.

In fact, if you take too much zinc consistently, you’ll achieve exactly the opposite of what Zn is supposed to do. That is, you’ll severely disrupt your blood cell formation and weaken your immune system defenses.

If you take too high dosages (40mg+) in the short term, you might experience symptoms such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort

and so on…


Zinc is an essential mineral found in foods, and also supplements.

It’s crucial for countless chemical processes in the body. From regulating your immune system, red blood cell production, to maintaining healthy testosterone levels.

Zinc also affects your nervous system. It plays a role in how your brain forms thoughts, memory, and emotions.

In men, this mineral enhances your overall wellness, improves both total and free testosterone levels, and even aids in fertility and prostate functioning.

Zn deficiency can cause low testosterone, poor health, and a weak immune system. Make sure to consume enough of this mineral either through foods or supplements. Foods rich in Zn are oysters, grass-fed beef, chickpeas, and yogurt.

Zn is a safe mineral to supplement, but only in normal dosages. The recommended daily dose for zinc supplementation for men is around 11mg. But 10-20mg is also a safe and effective range. Anything more than that, over a long period of time, can cause health side effects.

As long as you read the label and stick to what it says, you’ll safely and effectivelly provide yourself with one of the most important minerals for your body.


[showhide type=”links” more_text=”Show References” less_text=”Hide References”]

[1] Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults. Prasad AS1, Mantzoros CS, Beck FW, Hess JW, Brewer GJ.

[2] Effects of oyster extract on the reproductive function of zinc-deficient mice: bioavailability of zinc contained in oyster extract. Matsuda Y1, Watanabe T.

[3] Discovery of human zinc deficiency: its impact on human health and disease. Prasad AS1.

[4]  Effects of a Novel Zinc-Magnesium Formulation on Hormones and Strength. L.R. BRILLA AND VICTOR CONTE.

[5] Biological consequences of zinc deficiency in the pathomechanisms of selected diseases. Kamil Jurowski, Bernadeta Szewczyk, Gabriel Nowak, and Wojciech Piekoszewski

[6] Zinc and its importance for human health: An integrative review. Nazanin Roohani, Richard Hurrell, Roya Kelishadi, and Rainer Schulin.

[7] Zinc Deficiency - Luke Maxfield; Jonathan S. Crane.

[8] Zinc: An Essential Micronutrient ROBERT B. SAPER, MD, MPH and REBECCA RASH, MA.

[9] Zinc and its role in immunity and inflammation. Bonaventura P1, Benedetti G1, Albarède F2, Miossec P3.

[10] Zinc and gastrointestinal disease. Sonja Skrovanek, Katherine DiGuilio, Robert Bailey, William Huntington, Ryan Urbas, Barani Mayilvaganan, Giancarlo Mercogliano, and James M Mullin.

[11] Zinc in Human Health: Effect of Zinc on Immune Cells Ananda S Prasad.

[12] Effect of zinc supplementation on serum testosterone level in adult male sickle cell anemia subjects. Prasad AS, Abbasi AA, Rabbani P, DuMouchelle E.

[13] Zinc and diabetes mellitus: understanding molecular mechanisms and clinical implications. Priyanga Ranasinghe,  Shehani Pigera, Priyadarshani Galappatthy, Prasad Katulanda, and Godwin R. Constantine

[14] Effects of zinc supplementation on diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis. R Jayawardena, P Ranasinghe, P Galappatthy, RLDK Malkanthi, GR Constantine, and P Katulanda

[15] Zinc and diabetes. Chabosseau P1, Rutter GA2.

[16] The effects of zinc deficiency and testosterone supplementation on leptin levels in castrated rats and their relation with LH, FSH, and testosterone. Ozturk A1, Baltaci AK, Mogulkoc R, Oztekin E, Kul A.

[17] The effectiveness of zinc supplementation in men with isolated hypogonadotropic hypogonadism.

[18] Zinc, aging, and immunosenescence: an overview. Ángel Julio Romero Cabrera.

[19] The immune system and the impact of zinc during aging. Hajo Haase1 and Lothar Rink

[20] Zinc deficiency. Tuerk MJ1, Fazel N.

[21] Impact of the discovery of human zinc deficiency on health. Prasad AS1.

[22] Zinc deficiency in the alcoholic: a review.

[23] Zinc deficiency: what are the most appropriate interventions? Roger Shrimpton, honorary senior research fellow, Rainer Gross, chief, Ian Darnton-Hill, senior adviser micronutrients, and Mark Young, senior adviser Roll Back Malaria.

[24] Clinical manifestations of zinc deficiency. Prasad AS.

[25] Testosterone and Health Outcomes - NCBI clinical research.

[26] The many faces of testosterone - Jerald Bain.

[27] Review of health risks of low testosterone and testosterone administration. Huanguang Jia, Charles T Sullivan, Sean C McCoy, Joshua F Yarrow, Matthew Morrow, and Stephen E Borst

[28] Effect of fatiguing bicycle exercise on thyroid hormone and testosterone levels in sedentary males supplemented with oral zinc. Kilic M1.

[29] The effect of exhaustion exercise on thyroid hormones and testosterone levels of elite athletes receiving oral zinc. Kilic M1, Baltaci AK, Gunay M, Gökbel H, Okudan N, Cicioglu I.

[30] Effect of zinc administration on plasma testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and sperm count.
Netter A, Hartoma R, Nahoul K.

[31] Zinc intake from supplements and diet and prostate cancer. Gonzalez A1, Peters U, Lampe JW, White E.

[32]  Serum testosterone and urinary excretion of steroid hormone metabolites after administration of a high-dose zinc supplement.

[33] SELFNutritionData - Food Nutritional Information.

[34] DIETARY REFERENCE INTAKES FOR Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc.


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