Zinc: A Men's Best Friend?
- Contributed by SuperNature's in-house nutritionist Tiffany Wee
In this edition, we throw the spotlight on men’s health. If there is one nutrient that any man aged 18 to 80 (and beyond) should not do without, it would have to be zinc. Commonly known as an immune-boosting nutrient in throat lozenges, the benefits of zinc extend way beyond preventing the common cold. Here is a look at this power-packed nutrient.
Zinc is called a "trace mineral" because the body only needs very small amounts of it. However, it is necessary for almost 100 enzymes to carry out vital chemical reactions involved in growth and development, immune function, neurotransmission, vision, reproduction, and the senses of taste and smell.
Benefits of Zinc
Zinc protects the body from bacteria and viruses by supporting the growth and normal function of immune cells like lymphocytes, neutrophils, and macrophages. If we are low in zinc, our body’s ability to combat pathogens drops, making us susceptible to a variety of infectious agents.
- Wound Healing
Zinc helps to reduce inflammation and is needed to create new cells, particularly collagen and fibre-like tissues. Coupled with its ability to fight infections, it has shown to be effective for healing wounds and skin-related concerns like acne, diaper rash, warts, bed sores and leg ulcers.
- Family Planning
Low testosterone can cause all kinds of unpleasant effects related to fertility such as low libido, fatigue and erectile dysfunction. Getting enough zinc is one of the cornerstones of male fertility as the mineral helps to support normal testosterone levels, as well as improve sperm count and quality.
- Prostate Health
Prostate problems can cause unpleasant symptoms like frequent urination and difficulty urinating which may in turn disrupt sleep and daily life. Prostatic secretions are high in zinc, suggesting that it plays a vital role in prostate health. It is known to help prevent prostate issues later in life.
- Protein Synthesis
Protein is important for everyone, but perhaps a little more for men who have more muscle mass. Beyond building muscles, protein is necessary to repair damage, promote healthy skin and build healthy cells. Zinc is a vital part of this process; it is needed to break down the protein from food into amino acids and to resynthesize them into the different proteins needed by the body.
- Healthy Hair
A healthy head of hair is definitely something many men desire. Zinc is essential for making the main protein in hair – keratin. When zinc is deficient, hair becomes weak, thin and more likely to fall out. To prevent hair loss, ensure adequate zinc intake.
How Much Zinc to Take?
Recommended Dosages: For men 18+ years, 15mg per day (for women it’s 12mg).
The highest sources of bio-available zinc is from oysters and beef. If you take these on a regular basis, you may be getting sufficient amounts from your diet. However, if you do not eat these regularly or if you are vegetarian, it may be harder to get optimal levels as plant based zinc is not as accessible to your body. In such instances, consider taking zinc in supplement form. SuperNature carries a range of vegan-friendly zinc in the form of liquids and capsules.