The quality of erection in men and libido has lots to do with the intake status of micronutrients. Though most men living with erectile dysfunction (ED) have an adequate intake of macronutrients like proteins, fats, and carbs, their body is often deficient in microelements.
Many people are at higher risk of deficiency of microelements like zinc, as individuals tend to overlook their adequate dietary intake. Those living with chronic illnesses may be particularly at risk due to higher requirements or increased loss of such microelements.
People are often late to identify the deficiency of such nutrients, as the symptoms of their deficiency only develop gradually. Thus, ED could be a result of a lack of adequate dietary intake of various micronutrients, like zinc, for prolonged periods.
Zinc Is Vital for Optimal Health and Fertility
It is a mineral that plays a vital role in more than 100 enzyme systems, thus helping boost numerous metabolic processes. It is essential for wound healing, protein synthesis, immune responses, growth, DNA synthesis, cell division, and fertility (1).
Although the daily intake requirement is not much for adult males and is about 11 mg, many men are deficient in it.
Some studies estimate that as many as one-third of all adults are not getting enough dietary zinc. Zinc is challenging to get, as many of the commonly consumed food products may not have enough zinc in them.
It is always better to get nutrients through diet, and one can learn more about the content of zinc in various food products at the USDA website (2). For busy individuals, using supplements may be the right solution.
Zinc Is Good for Reproductive Organs
It is now well-known that zinc is a vital element for reproductive health. It is one of the most commonly prescribed minerals to treat infertility in men and even women. Anything good for fertility is usually good for sexual performance or erectile function too.
Zinc helps keep the internal lining of reproductive organs healthy. Zinc deficiency, on the other hand, slows down the production of healthy sperm. Severe and prolonged deficiency may have an adverse effect on sperm count (3).
Zinc Helps Boost Testosterone Levels
Clinical studies show that men who are deficient in zinc are more likely to have low testosterone. And on the contrary, those having an adequate amount of zinc in the body also have high testosterone levels.
Science knows this relationship between testosterone levels in men of all ages and plasma zinc levels quite well. Studies show that even marginal deficiency of zinc might cause testosterone levels to fall (4).
Studies show that even a short time is enough for zinc deficiency, thus causing low testosterone. Although it might take much longer to have symptoms of deficiency, lab results start showing a fall in testosterone after 3-4 months of the zinc-deficient diet.
Clinical trials indicate that the best way to correct zinc deficiency and related falls in testosterone levels is with prolonged supplementation. Thus, men living with low testosterone may benefit after three to six months of supplementation (5).
When Supplementing With Zinc Might Be a Good Idea?
Needless to say, that zinc is not Viagra or Cialis, thus do not expect to get a hard erection after using it for some time.
Correcting zinc deficiency requires taking supplements for a few months, and the improvement in erectile quality, libido, and fertility is gradual.
Those living with some chronic ailment should particularly consider zinc, irrespective of their nutritional status. Thus, those living with diabetes and chronic kidney disease have a higher need for various micronutrients. Such individuals may take zinc along with other medications for erectile dysfunction (6).
Zinc deficiency and erectile dysfunction are common in those living with obesity. Many such patients might go through bariatric surgery for weight loss. Though bariatric is a good and safe option and may considerably improve the quality of life, it might not help much with ED.
One of the reasons could be the resulting deficiency of various vitamins and minerals, including zinc. Those who continue to live with ED after bariatric surgery must consider zinc supplements for better sexual health (7).
The latest research shows that zinc may even help those who do not have its deficiency. It seems that a high intake of zinc through diet or supplements may boost libido and improve the quality of erection.
One way it might happen is due to an increase in testosterone levels. Additionally, studies show that zinc may also affect levels of prolactin, and thus influencing sexual desire in many (8).
Zinc is not a replacement for Cialis or Viagra, as it does not have a direct effect on erection quality. It is relatively safe for combining these medications, and those living with ED may even see a better response from these drugs. Yes, zinc supplementation can enhance the response to various drugs and supplements used to treat ED.
To conclude, zinc is good for fertility, for the health of reproductive organs. It also enhances testosterone levels. It might affect sexual behavior and improve libido due to other reasons like affecting other hormones and maybe even influencing the neuroendocrine system.
It could be a good supplement for those living with ED. It is also the right idea to take zinc if one is dependent on Cialis or Viagra for getting a hard erection, as ED might indicate a zinc deficiency. Zinc may also improve response to these drugs, thus helping get maximum results.