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Zinc Helps Address: Low Testosterone

Zinc is a key mineral for healthy testosterone levels and sperm count in men and for fertility in men and women. It helps prevent the conversion of testosterone to ­estrogen and support the prostate gland, which plays an important role in healthy, vital sexual function, in men.

Zinc is also critical for producing neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), Steelsmith notes. These chemicals aid in regulating our mood and stress response and help us feel relaxed and sensual. This may be one reason that oysters, the most potent food source of zinc, are considered an aphrodisiac.

A 2021 randomized controlled trial examined the effect of zinc on testosterone levels and sexual function in postmenopausal women with zinc serum levels below 62 mcg/dL. (According to the National Institutes of Health, a healthy range is 80 to 120 mcg/dL.) The researchers found that zinc supplementation in the intervention group significantly improved sexual desire, arousal, orgasm, satisfaction, vaginal moisture, pain during intercourse, and overall sexual function compared with the control group.

How to Supplement With Zinc:

Zinc is an essential mineral, meaning we can’t produce it, so we need to consume it through food or supplementation,” says integrative and functional nutritionist Cindi Lockhart, RDN, LD, IFNCP.

Unlike DHEA, which more quickly affects testosterone production, zinc and other minerals take time to accumulate in the body.

Food sources include oysters, red meat, pumpkin seeds, leafy green vegetables, bee pollen, and wheatgrass. Zinc testing can reveal whether supplementation is needed to raise your levels. (One sign of possible deficiency: white spots on your fingernails.)

Steelsmith notes that zinc supplements are generally safe and beneficial for most people due to zinc’s role in immune support and liver detoxification. She recommends a daily oral supplement dose of 25 to 50 mg. To avoid nausea, take it with food.

(See “The Health Benefits of Zinc” to learn how to tell if you’re deficient — and what you can do to optimize your zinc levels with good nutrition.)

This was excerpted from “How to Use Nutrition to Improve Your Libido” which was published in Experience Life.

Mo Perry

Mo Perry is an Experience Life contributing editor.

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