Zinc is key to several bodily functions. Immune support and catalyzing wound healing, slowing down age-related vision loss, and supporting the health of your skin and bones all require zinc. Yet what’s seldom talked about is how important zinc is as you age.
Because it’s essential to so many functions, zinc (or lack of it) is linked to a wide range of conditions such as low testosterone levels and declining sexual performance. Want to keep performing at your best regardless of your age? Check out these zinc benefits for men.
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Zinc is present in every organ, but the prostate has more zinc than any other tissue in males (except bone). While it’s perfectly natural for you to exercise less and be less stringent on your diet as you get older, failing to get enough zinc can be problematic.
Without it, you could be at an increased risk of developing inflammation in your prostate gland. That’s because zinc helps prevent prostate enlargement and may help to shrink a prostate gland that’s already swollen.
No one wants to lose their hair, but for some, it’s not an option. While most baldness is attributed to alopecia and genetics, deficiencies in minerals like zinc can contribute to it. That’s because zinc is required for protein synthesis and the formation of keratin, the major protein that makes up your hair.
To help prevent thinning, a receding hairline, or baldness, about 11 milligrams of zinc is recommended daily. While not guaranteed, zinc can give your hair a fighting chance.
Zinc is renowned for its testosterone-boosting and sexual health-improving effects. The mineral affects a roster of sexual health aspects, including male potency, fertility, and sex drive.
It’s also vital in sperm production. In most men, zinc deficiency is the primary cause of lower testosterone levels and semen volume. Zinc can also improve sperm motility, which is the strength and endurance of sperm cells as they swim towards the egg. So if you plan on adding another member to the family a little zinc can go a long way in improving your fertility.
The older you get, the more prone to infection you are. That’s because your immune system isn’t as responsive as it used to be. Give yourself the immunity boost you need to recover faster. Simply add a bit of zinc to your diet.
Studies show that zinc can help shorten the duration of colds and also reduce the severity of their symptoms.
When the Cleveland Clinic issued its research in 1996 claiming zinc could help reduce the severity and length of a cold, zinc lozenges became a popular cold treatment. In a trial of 100 participants who had a cold for less than 24 hours, half were given zinc lozenges every two hours, and the other half were given a placebo. The zinc users said their cold symptoms lasted an average of 4.4 days, compared to 7.6 days for the placebo group.
Is your diet lacking zinc? Add some of these zinc-rich foods to your diet.
Meat is a high-quality source of zinc. Red meat is a particularly good source. You can also find zinc in cattle, lamb, and pork.
Chickpeas, lentils, and beans contain tons of zinc. In reality, 100 grams of cooked lentils provide about 12% of the daily value. They do, however, contain phytates. These anti-nutrients prevent zinc and other minerals from being absorbed.
Zinc intake can be increased by eating pine nuts, peanuts, cashews, and almonds. Nuts also contain various other beneficial elements, such as healthy fats, fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Milk and cheese are two significant sources of bioavailable zinc, which means that your body can absorb most of the zinc in these foods. So next time you’re reaching for a snack, consider some Greek yogurt or a cheese stick.
Keep in mind that some conditions might make it hard for your body to absorb zinc naturally through food. Supplements can help fulfill your daily intake.
You can read more in our complete guide below, foods that could be boosting your testosterone and some that are secretly killing your testosterone.
For all of its benefits, zinc is not good for you in large doses. Taking more than 40 mg of elemental zinc per day might cause flu-like symptoms such as fever, coughing, headache, and exhaustion. It also affects copper levels in your body, which might affect your mental and thyroid health, among others.
Some side effects linked to zinc supplementation include:
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