Zinc a really important mineral as it is one of the 24 trace elements our bodies need to stay healthy and function properly. The list of conditions helped by zinc and the the problems that can happen if we don’t get enough is too long to go into here, but we’ll put one at the end of this article for the really medically curious among you.
So it’s vital for general health, but what about testosterone? What effect does topping this mineral up with supplements have on our T levels?
Finding out the answer to that isn’t as simple as you might think. Like magnesium, there is a lot rubbish talked about zinc. ZMA use splits opinion right down the middle. It can be hard to cut through the hype or scare stories and find solid facts. The best way to do this is by going direct to the scientific studies. They may be dry as a camel’s backside but at least they give it to you straight.
This study reported that zinc played an important role in regulating testosterone levels in normal men. Note that – normal men, not men with any deficiencies in that area. The 40 men who took part in the study were aged between 20 and 80 years of age.
They also studied a further 9 older men (64 +/- 9 years) who were deficient at the start of the trial.
The lead researcher in this study had dedicated his whole career to the study of this mineral and, 15 years later, was to receive a congressional commendation for the scientific advances he had made in 50 years of work on zinc and how it affects us.
In short: this guy knew his shit.
The study involved carefully limiting he subjects dietary zinc intake. It discovered that serum testosterone levels were significantly linked to zinc concentrations.
The normal young men had their zinc restricted for 20 weeks and their testosterone levels dropped to just over a quarter of their starting levels, on average (39.9 to 10.6). In the older men who were zinc deficient the 6 months of zinc supplementation resulted in their serum testosterone levels almost doubling (on average 8.3 to 16.0).
Well the problem is that a couple of years after this study was done a brilliant marketer (note: not a scientist….a skilled marketer and former musician) named Victor Conte founded a sports nutrition organization called BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative).
This organization not only created the banned steroid tetrahydrogestrinome, which Conte did time for after pleading guilty in 2005, the also developed ZMA. ZMA is, a supplement designed to improve sleep and enhance hormone profiles. It comprises Zinc Monomethionine Aspartate, Magensium Aspartate and Vitamin B6.
As you can read in our section on magensium, the scientific data that backs up ZMA is a questionable study, which Conte himself was involved in. Still, ZMA was heavily marketed as a testosterone booster, netted Conte and his affiliates a fortune and later spawned a backlash of angry bloggers keen to trash Conte and any ZMA products as frauds. Google ‘Zinc Testosterone Booster’ and you’ll find just as many commentators saying it does nothing at all as you’ll find parties with a vested interest claiming it’s a natural T boosting miracle.
The answer, as always, lies somewhere in the middle.
Zinc supplementation does indeed have a proven clinical record as a T booster. Keeping healthy levels in your system will be hugely beneficial to not only your T, but your overall well being, so we would recommend a supplement which contains sufficient zinc.