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Zinc and Male Fertility

by
author image K.T. Parker
K.T. Parker is the author of multiple fiction novels and many articles, mostly about health topics. Her education in nutrition augments her pursuit of a degree in Naturopathy.
Zinc and Male Fertility
Men with adequate zinc intake may produce a larger quantity of healthier sperm. Photo Credit LuminaStock/iStock/Getty Images

Zinc assists the body with immune function, enzyme conversion, cell metabolism and breaking down proteins. Zinc also plays an important role in male fertility. The Office of Dietary Supplements states an adult male needs 11 milligrams of zinc daily. Your body has no storage capacity, so you need to get the recommended amount every day through diet or supplementation. Peanuts, oysters, dark chocolate, red meat and cocoa powder are good dietary sources of zinc.

Zinc's Effect on Sperm

According to Christine Lee, M.D., zinc guards sperm against bacteria. Because zinc has antioxidant properties, it may also protect sperm from free radicals, which are compounds that damage cells. Zinc also influences the number of and healthiness of sperm. A study published in a February 2009 issue of "Nutrition Research" examined smoking and nonsmoking men, both fertile and infertile, to determine the effects of zinc on sperm count and quality. The researchers concluded men with higher zinc levels, whether or not they smoked, had higher numbers of healthier sperm than men with lower levels.

Double Up

Consider combining zinc and folic acid to further boost fertility. Another study, in the March 2002 issue of "Fertility and Sterility," followed a group of fertile and subfertile men who took 5 milligrams of folic acid combined with 66 milligrams of zinc daily for 26 weeks. Both groups had an increase in sperm count, with the subfertile group experiencing a 74 percent increase in normal sperm count by the study's conclusion.

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