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Why Do Men Need Zinc?

written by: jciotta • edited by: Stephanie Mojica • updated: 1/18/2011

Learn why men need more zinc than women in their diets. We discuss the overall purpose of zinc in the body and how a man might need increased levels to maintain superior male health.

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    Purpose of Zinc

    Michelle Meiklejohn / Find out why men need more zinc than women in general. But first, let's discuss zinc's purpose in the human body.

    Dr. George Obikoya in The Benefits of Zinc reports, "Zinc is an essential mineral that is found in every cell in our body. It stimulates the activity of about 100 enzymes, substances that promote biochemical reactions in your body." Zinc helps maintain healthy levels of immunity in the body, including the healing of wounds such as cuts, bruises and scrapes. This mineral is also maintains the senses of taste and smell. In general, zinc supports growth and development through all stages of life from pregnancy, childhood and adolescence into adulthood when sperm develops for the purposes of ovulation and fertilization.

    When a person takes zinc, s/he must intake proper levels of the vitamin. Too little can cause a deficiency; too much can cause an overdose. Some signs of a zinc deficiency include: retardation in growth and development, delay of sexual maturity and impotence, loss of hair and appetite, lesions of eye and skin, weight loss, taste abnormalities and lethargy. Signs of an overdose include reduced immune response, changed iron function and reduced HDL levels or good cholesterol.

    Thus, both men and women alike must have proper zinc levels in the body.

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    Zinc for Men

    Tina Phillips / Men require more zinc than women. Why?

    Experts say a healthy prostrate gland is linked directly to zinc. Though inconclusive, many experts agree that the vitamin may be helpful in staving off infection and inflammation in the prostate gland in the case of older men.

    In regard to sexual health, zinc aids in the manufacture of testosterone. When a man has a shortage of zinc, he may experience a loss of libido, low sperm count and other sexual problems. Also, when a man ejaculates, zinc leaves the body because it is contained in the sperm that swims to the egg.

    Men should discuss their zinc levels with their doctor if they're experiencing any of the above problems.

    It seems that the level of zinc can very much control a man's sexual mood and function. According to Healthy Soul, "every ejaculation accounts for 1.5 mg of zinc lost! Zinc is stored by the prostate gland and if it is deficient, sperm count is reduced and it can cause impotence, mental lethargy, emotional problems and a lack of libido."

    Interestingly enough, there is a lot of zinc in oysters, hence the reason for oysters being commonly referred to as a natural aphrodisiac.

    In women, sexual function is not determined by zinc, and obviously, women do not have a prostate. Thus, now you know why men need more zinc than women. Men should discuss the best diet plan with their doctor to find the right level of zinc for their needs.

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    The Benefits of Zinc by Dr. George Obikoya --

    Zinc Information --

    "Men's Health" by Healthy Soul --

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    Image Credits

    Photo 1 (pills): Michelle Meiklejohn / --

    Photo 2 (couple): Tina Phillips / --