Is Zinc Good For Testosterone Production?
Zinc: The Benefits
LAST UPDATED: September 2018.
Author: Nicola Joyce is a amateur athlete with two world titles in body building and has swam the English Channel twice.
Nicola uses a combination of first hand experience and research to help the reader understand how nutrients can benefit the body.
This review of zinc is supported by 6 referenced studies.
Taking the mineral zinc is one of the easiest ways to boost your body’s testosterone levels naturally.
Of all the “male-specific” minerals, zinc and magnesium get the most attention. And for good reason – zinc and magnesium (or combined as ZMA) can support natural anabolism, boost recovery, and enhance sleep.
Zinc has enough research and anecdotal evidence for its own article (we’ll look at magnesium, and ZMA, another time).
This is what supplementing zinc can do for your test levels – and how to know if you need it. (Spoiler: you probably do…)
What Is Zinc?
Zinc is one of the 24 essential minerals that our bodies need to survive. The human body can’t make or store zinc (that’s why it’s called “essential”), so we need to take enough of it every day from food or supplements.
Zinc supplements are cheap, convenient, and easy to take.
Getting all the zinc you need from your diet is a lot more difficult (although not impossible, if your diet is impeccable 365 days of the year!)
Zinc is found throughout the human body, but muscle and bone tissue contains 90% of the body’s zinc content.
It up-regulates more than 100 enzymes, plays a key role in cellular metabolism, and is strongly connected to testosterone levels.
The testes require zinc to maintain their function. And since men have a greater need for high natural test levels, men also have a more critical need for supplemental zinc intake.
Even a small zinc deficiency has been associated with decreased testosterone levels, low sperm count, and a negative impact on muscle mass.
However, the good news is that supplementing with a daily dose of zinc can quickly reverse all this so you can be on your way to a stronger, leaner, and more fertile body!
How Does Zinc Help The Body Produce Testosterone?
Zinc is a natural way to support and boost the body’s natural levels of free testosterone and growth hormone.
Zinc has been shown to increase levels of luteinizing hormone, a hormone that is released from the pituitary gland to stimulate testosterone production.
It has also been proven to be a significant aromatase enzyme, reducing the conversion from testosterone to oestrogen.
A 1996 study found that zinc plays an important role in regulating the body’s testosterone levels, but we should point out that this study only looked at people who were deficient in zinc. 
However, most of us are also deficient in zinc (through poor diet or poor nutrient absorption), so the results of this study are widely relevant.
If you train regularly and experience stress, you are far more likely to be low in zinc than not.
A 2006 study examined the testosterone levels of elite athletes (wrestlers) who had supplemented with a daily supplemental dose of zinc for one month. 
They had significantly higher testosterone (and thyroid) levels, compared to a placebo group who saw a reduction in free testosterone.
The conclusion was that both groups lost zinc through sweating during training, and the placebo group who did not supplement zinc were left deficient.
The group who did supplement with zinc didn’t only preserve their testosterone, they increased free and total test levels.
If you are deficient in zinc (and you probably are), then supplemental zinc will almost certainly help boost your test levels.
You need at least 15mg zinc every day to maintain absolute basic endocrine system function.
Remember, we lose minerals through sweat. So unless you are consistently getting a lot of zinc from your diet, it’s important to supplement with a quality zinc product.
Does Low Zinc Always Mean Low Testosterone?
This 1992 study showed that even short term zinc deficiency can lower testosterone levels in healthy men. The results of this study suggest that serum testosterone concentrations are sensitive to short-term zinc depletion. 
In 2011, a study found that men who have normal test levels also have higher zinc levels than men with low test. 
This study was done on male athletes who were involved in intense exercise. It’s clear that zinc and testosterone levels are closely linked, and that looking after your zinc levels will have a positive impact on testosterone levels if either one is low.
Will Zinc Benefit You?
Everyone needs enough zinc, but it’s particularly important for men (who have higher levels of testosterone, and are more likely to be deficient in zinc due to stress, exercise, and poor diet).
If you have poor gut health, a high stress lifestyle, or if you don’t regularly eat zinc-rich foods (see below), you should supplement with zinc.
And if you have any of the common signs of low test (tiredness, low mood, depression, poor libido, high body fat and/or low levels of muscle tissue), you could definitely benefit from more zinc.
The results from a study which involved American Football players found that when zinc was taken along with magnesium it reduced stress (cortisol) levels and promoted anabolic hormone levels.
‘Zinc plays an essential role in androgen metabolism and interaction with steroid
Zinc In Your Diet
Although the best way to optimise your zinc levels is through a quality zinc supplement, some foods can help too.
- Oysters, lobster, shrimp, prawns, and crabmeat
- Beef, chicken, and pork
- Zinc-fortified cereals and breads
- Beans and legumes
- Yoghurt, milk, and cheese
- Nuts and seeds
Green tea can help the body to absorb zinc. Chlorogenic acid decreases absorption, as does iron (when both iron and zinc exceed 10mg and it is taken on an empty stomach).
What Else Does Zinc Do?
Zinc can help keep your test levels higher in less direct ways, too. As an essential mineral, zinc supports immunity and all-round health (helping to keep you in the gym).
Lower levels of zinc can mean your body’s T-cells are compromised, making you more prone to infection.
If you feel well, you’ll train harder, more often, and more consistently.
- Zinc plays a key role in cell growth and development
- It supports the production of white blood cells (mainly T-lymphocytes)
- Zinc reduces the effect of inflammation on insulin resistance
- It regulates the neurotransmitter dopamine
- And can improve your mood, focus, and energy
Furthermore zinc has been shown to improve muscular function when tested on human subjects.
‘Direct muscle function studies with manipulation of zinc status over a short time interval of 3 weeks demonstrated that zinc status positively alters the total work capacity of skeletal muscle in humans.’ 
How To Take Supplemental Zinc
Zinc is an essential nutrient, which means you need to get it from your diet or from supplements.
It’s not impossible to get zinc from food, but it is difficult to get precise doses on a regular basis.
And poor gut health, stress, or an imperfect diet can all impact on the amount of zinc you actually absorb.
It makes sense to supplement with zinc (or with an effective testosterone booster) as a very easy, fail-safe way to get the amount of zinc your body needs every day.
A low dose of supplemental zinc is considered to be 5-10mg/day, and this is a decent dose for preventing zinc deficiency.
If you are at higher risk of zinc deficiency, you can take a higher dose of 25-45mg/day.
You can super load zinc, but it’s not advised.
Don’t forget that calcium, magnesium, and iron use the same transporter so can affect the absorption of zinc.
Be sure to take less than 800mg (the transporter’s uptake limit) total of these four minerals at the same time.
Different forms of zinc supplements contain different amounts of elemental zinc (the weight of the zinc molecule).
Here’s how to get 50mg from each different kind of zinc supplement:
- Zinc Citrate (146mg)
- Zinc Sulfate (220mg)
- Zinc Gluconate (385mg)
- Zinc Monomethionine (238mg)
Testosterone Boosters with Zinc
All of the best and the most effective testosterone boosters include Zinc for the reasons above.
These three vitamins and minerals are the foundations of a beneficial T-booster.
 Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults. Prasad AS, Mantzoros CS, Beck FW, Hess JW, Brewer GJ. Nutrition. 1996 May;12(5):344-8. PMID: 8875519
 The effect of exhaustion exercise on thyroid hormones and testosterone levels of elite athletes receiving oral zinc. Kilic M, Baltaci AK, Gunay M, Gökbel H, Okudan N, Cicioglu I. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2006 Feb-Apr;27(1-2):247-52. PMID: 16648789
 Effects of dietary zinc depletion on seminal volume and zinc loss, serum testosterone concentrations, and sperm morphology in young men. Hunt CD, Johnson PE, Herbel J, Mullen LK. Am J Clin Nutr. 1992 Jul;56(1):148-57. PMID: 1609752
 Effect of zinc and selenium supplementation on serum testosterone and plasma lactate in cyclist after an exhaustive exercise bout. Shafiei Neek L, Gaeini AA, Choobineh S. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2011 Dec;144(1-3):454-62. doi: 10.1007/s12011-011-9138-2. Epub 2011 Jul 9. PMID: 21744023
 Om A, Chung K. Dietary zinc deficiency alters 5a-reduction and aromatization of testosterone and
androgen and estrogen receptors in rat liver. J Nutr 1996:126:842-8.
Nicola Joyce (aka “the fit writer”) is a fitness industry copywriter who has been writing for and about sport and fitness since 2004. Nicola is a competitive drug-free bodybuilder (with two World titles at amateur level) and has also competed in powerlifting and a couple of strongman comps. Prior to her strength training days, Nicola was an endurance athlete and has even swum the English Channel twice. She can be found on all social media at: thefitwriter.
Ben established this site to be a free resource in 2015. Since then it has gained over half a million visits. It explores the many avenues of fitness and uses supporting scientific evidence for any reviews or analysis of products.
Ben himself has been interested in fitness from an early age. He started playing rugby at the age of 6 for his town, county and school where he gained his full colors while also being in the Army Cadets. After graduating from university in 2005 with a BA(Hons) Ben moved to London and nurtured his love for weightlifting to support his rugby, he also became heavily involved with cycling. Ben also started skiing and recently joined the Army Reserve to further develop his capabilities.