Zinc is the cornerstone of male fertility. Although Zinc is needed by over 300 enzymes in the body and is found in all parts of the body, the highest concentrations are found in the prostate gland and the semen. It is the second most common mineral ion in the human body and of all zinc ingested, around 20-40% is absorbed. The human body is unable to store Zinc so it is needed to be included in the diet on a daily basis.
Zinc helps release testosterone which is responsible for sexual and normal function as well as helping to facilitate cell division, the growth of cells and the healing of wounds. Men need more zinc than women because their ejaculate is rich in this element, often containing 5mg per ejaculate. Men need between 9.5-11mg daily.
Zinc is also essential for many stages of the sperm development. It is known that a deficiency can affect developing sperm and also affect the proper functioning of some testicular cells. There is also a possible association between slow moving sperm and low Zinc levels.
Zinc Rich Diet
So diets high in red meat and poultry, especially the brown meat, are very good for you as they are rich in Zinc. If you can stretch to oysters, then these are very high in Zinc (74mg per serving) compared to just 7mg for some steak, which is the next nearest “Zinc-rich” food.
The actual working mechanism of Zinc is as follows: the amount of testosterone in the blood is referred to by medics as “free testosterone”. This free testosterone is converted to a substance called DHT or dehyrotestosterone by an enzyme called 5alpha-reductase. Medical research has found that men who are infertile (producing no sperm at all) have higher levels of this DHT. Science has found that Zinc very effectively blocks (up to 98%) of the 5alpha reductase so therefore reduces the amount of testosterone being converted to DHT. What this means is that if you have a diet deficient in Zinc, you may have higher levels of DHT than anticipated which in turn could have a role in infertility.
Does Deficiency Matter?
Finally, a study in 1996 found that when healthy men had a diet restricted of zinc, over a period of 20 weeks, their levels of testosterone dropped. There is evidence therefore, that a diet rich in Zinc is necessary for reproductive health in men. After having a vasectomy reversal, you can help yourself to make sure that you eat well, ensure that your intake of Zinc is adequate and it will all help to make sure that your sperm grow healthily, strong and swim well.