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What Does Zinc Do in a Man?

author image Allison Adams
Allison Adams has worked as a registered dietitian since 1996. She began writing professionally in 2000, with work featured in a variety of medical publications such as "Women's Health Magazine" and the "New England Journal of Medicine." Adams holds a Master of Science in nutrition and food sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Zinc is an essential trace mineral and you must obtain zinc through your diet either from foods or supplements. In other words, your body does not naturally produce zinc. According to “Zinc in Adolescent Growth,” zinc is the most abundant trace mineral in your body and can be found in all of your cells. The functions of over 300 enzymes in your body require zinc. Additionally, men require zinc for many biological functions and processes. Speak with a medical professional prior to taking any health supplement including zinc.


Testosterone is a hormone that plays an essential role in men’s’ health. Men require testosterone for many biological functions including the development of reproductive tissues including the testis and the prostate. Additionally, testosterone promotes hair growth, muscle and bone mass. Low testosterone levels can result from zinc deficiencies in your body. According to “Zinc in Adolescent Growth,” doctors commonly prescribe zinc supplements to increase the production of testosterone in both adolescents and adults.

Sperm Count

Zinc deficiencies in men can also affect the quality and quantity of your sperm. Your testis require zinc to produce sperm, and doctors commonly look for zinc deficiencies when determining the underlying cause of a low sperm count. Additional factors that can affect your sperm count include the clothes you wear, the food you eat and the type and amount of exercise you regularly perform.

Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a walnut shaped gland responsible for producing the seminal fluid that feeds and transports sperm. Prostate cancer can manifests in a variety of ways and the specific treatment will depend on the aggressiveness of the cancer. According to “Human Physiology: The Mechanisms of Body Function,” zinc may slow or reduce some prostate cancers in certain people. However, further studies are required to confirm the prostate cancer fighting benefits of zinc.

How Much Zinc Do You Need

Zinc deficiency in men is relatively rare in industrialized countries. Most cases of zinc deficiency in men result from a malabsorption syndrome or another disorder or condition that prevents your body from processing zinc. Crohn’s disease, celiac disease and anorexia can also cause a deficiency in zinc in men. According to ““Human Physiology: The Mechanisms of Body Function,” the recommended daily allowance for zinc in healthy adult men is 12 mg.

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