What is Zinc?
Zinc, though beneficial for men’s sexual health, is a chemical element with an atomic number 30 and represented by the symbol, Zn. It is slightly brittle at room temperature and has a silvery-grayish appearance when oxidation is removed.
In the periodic table, zinc is the first element in the 12th group and in the 4th period. It possesses similar characteristic with magnesium; both elements exhibit one normal oxidation state, only (+2) and are similar in size.
It should be noted that Zinc is the 24th most abundant element in Earth’s crust and has five stable isotopes. The common Zinc ore being Sphalerite, a zinc sulfide mineral. Despite being the 24th most abundant element, Zinc is still a trace element in our body. meaning that our body require only a small amount of it in our circulatory systems.
What Are The Sources Of Zinc?
Zinc can be sourced from several foods such as meats, fishes, fruits, seeds, vegetables, nuts and some times, from the leaves and roots of certain herbal plants. Some of the plant sources of Zinc includes:
Meats and Fishes
meats are excellent sources of zinc. But red meat are in particular, great sources of Zinc. An ample amount of zinc can be found, however, several other kinds of meat and fishes, most especially from sea foods.
Legumes like groundnut, cowpea, pigeon pea, beans, and several others, are great source of zinc. When you eats meat, fish or legumes, you are sue going to enrich your body with increased amount of zinc.
Eggs are another great source of zinc, Though they contain moderate amount of zinc, they sure would help you meet your daily zinc requirements. When you consume one egg, you are supplied with 5% f your daily dietary value of zinc.
Fruits and Seeds
Most plant fruits and seed such as Avocado peer, black sunflower seeds, apple, star apple, garden eggs and several others possess ample amount of zinc which your body would need to maintain daily functions. when you think of the added antioxidants in fruits and seeds, and consider the benefits they and zinc offer sexually, you would want to eat fruits every passing day for a good health and reproductive functions.
What Are The Benefits Of Zinc, Sexually?
According to studies, male infertility is responsible for approximately 30-55% of infertility cases. The commonest cause of male infertility is sperm dysfunction. And this may be due to some risk factors like
- Obstructive lesions
- Cystic fibrosis
- Genitourinary infections
- Environmental factors and
- Nutritional deficiency of trace elements, especially zinc, selenium, and vitamins.
During ejaculation, the sexual accessory glands secrete serminal plasma which contains some elements that protect spermatozoa. Some of the serminal contents include,
- Acid phosphatase
- Alanine transaminase
- Alkaline phosphatase
- Aspartate transaminase
- Lipids and
Zinc plays important role in male fertility by enhancing germinal cell proliferation, cell division, immune system and gene expression. And a dietary zinc deficiency is a risk factor low quality of sperm and idiopathic male infertility.
Zinc Enhances Testosterone Production
Low sperm zinc levels have a negative effect on serum testosterone concentration. It also affects the normal function of the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis. Zinc helps the body maintain proper thyroid function by producing hormones called thyroid-releasing hormones in the brain.
Thyroid hormones have several important roles in the body including metabolism, development and even body temperature. Whenever men are low in Zn, they
may fail to produce enough of these hormones. That can also affect testosterone levels.
According to a clinical study, adult males who denied themselves Zinc supplementation showed a disorder of testosterone synthesis in the Leydig cell. This is because zinc has a main role in the 5α reductase enzyme that is necessary for the transformation of testosterone into biologically active form, 5α dihydro testosterone.
How Does Zinc Enhances Testosterone production?
Zinc boosts male fertility via enhancing testosterone production by modulating the balance between testosterone and 5α dihydro testosterone (DHT). This is done by regulating the activity of 5α-reductase, which converts testosterone to DHT. It is important for the Leydig cells and play important role in the physiology of spermatozoa.
Benefits of Zinc Sexually in Sperm Count and Motility
During initiation of spermatogenesis, zinc participates in the ribonuclease activity as well as involves in spermatozoa maturation, maintains germinal epithelium and seminiferous tubule. It also enhances sperm motility and concentration during ejaculation.
Several studies have demonstrated that oral Zinc supplementation improves sperm motility in subfertile men with idiopathic asthenozoospermia and/oroligozoospermia. The negative correlation between seminal plasma Zn and sperm viability is a good sign of the importance of Zn in spermatogenesis.
Zn therapy improves sperm quality with increases in sperm density, progressive motility and improved conception and pregnancy outcome. Zn plays an important role in membrane-stabilizing and antioxidant activity and maintains sperm viability by inhibiting DNases.
Zinc Antibacterial Activities Enhances Sperm Health
One of the risk factors of sperm dysfunction is genitourinary infection. The antibacterial activity of zinc improves sperm health and sperm count by clearing bacterial infections. The oxide of zinc, ZnO has antimicrobial activities against both gram negative and gram positive bacteria as well as against spores. But the mechanism of action of ZnO against antimicrobial activity is yet to be elucidated.
Zinc Is Beneficial For Men’s Prostate Function
Apart from the Being Beneficial men’s sexual health, zinc also helps the prostate. It has been found that zinc inhibits the growth and invasion of prostate cancer cells. One of the ways zinc suppresses prostate cancer growth is through the suppressing the activity of mitochondrial aconitase and inhibition of the terminal oxidation in the electron transport chain. But that’s not all there is about Zinc; it also imposes apoptogenic effect and suppresses progression while protecting DNA integrity in the prostate cell.
Aditya, A., Chattopadhyay, S., Jha, D., Gautam, H. K., Maiti, S., and Ganguli, M. (2018). Zinc oxide nanoparticles dispersed in ionic liquids show high antimicrobial efficacy to skin-specific bacteria. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 10, 15401–15411. doi: 10.1021/acsami.8b01463.
Ali H, Ahmed M, Baig M, Ali M. Relationship of zinc concentrations in blood and seminal plasma with various semen parameters in infertile subjects. Pak J Med Sci. 2007;23(1):111-4.
Akinloye O, Abbiyesuku FM, Oguntibeju OO, Arowojolu AO, Truter EJ. The impact of blood and seminal plasma zinc and copper concentrations on spermogram and hormonal changes in infertile Nigerian men. Reprod Biol. 2011;11(2):83-98.
Brown, A. N., Smith, K., Samuels, T. A., Lu, J., Obare, S. O., and Scott, M. E. (2012). Nanoparticles functionalized with ampicillin destroy multiple-antibiotic-resistant isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacter aerogenes and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 78, 2768–2774. doi: 10.1128/AEM.06513-11
Henkel R, Bittner J, Weber R, Hüther F, Miska W. Relevance of zinc in human sperm flagella and its relation to motility. Fertil Steril. 1999;71(6):1138-43.
Ho, E., & Song, Y. (2009). Zinc and prostatic cancer. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, 12(6), 640–645. https://doi.org/10.1097/MCO.0b013e32833106ee
Hunt CD, Johnson PE, Herbel J, Mullen LK. Effects of dietary zinc depletion on seminal volume and zinc loss, serum testosterone concentrations, and sperm morphology in young men. Am J Clin Nutr. 1992;56(1):148-57.
Khosronezhad N, Hosseinzadeh Colagar A, Mortazavi SM. The Nsun7 (A11337)-deletion mutation, causes reduction of its protein rate and associated with sperm motility defect in infertile men. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2015;32(5):807–15.
Omu A, Al-Azemi MK, Kehinde EO, Anim JT, Oriowo MA, Mathew TC. Indications of the mechanisms involved in improved sperm parameters by zinc therapy. Med Princ Pract. 2008;17(2):108-16.
Yuyan L, Junqing W, Wei Y, Weijin Z, Ersheng G. Are serum zinc and copper levels related to semen quality? Fertil Steril. 2008;89(4):1008–11.
Khan MS, Zaman S, Sajjad M, Shoaib M, Gilani G. Assessment of the level of trace element zinc in seminal plasma of males and evaluation of its role in male infertility. Int J Appl Basic Med Res. 2011;1 (2):93–6.