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Last Updated: Oct 23, 2019
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Zinc Deficiency - Can It Lead To Infertility In Men?

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Dt. Roma DaveDietitian/Nutritionist • 17 Years Exp.Msc- Food & Nutrition
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Zinc is chemically a metal and a trace mineral with multiple health benefits. It is required by the body for a number of functions in small quantities on a regular basis. Some of its important roles include improving immunity, hormone production and promoting digestion, controlling inflammation, tissue growth and repair, etc. to name a few. It also helps in controlling free radical production and therefore has anti-inflammatory effects in reversing heart disease and fighting cancer.

About 5 to 8 mg of zinc is needed by a person per day, with smaller children needing it in the lesser range and women needing more of it. Natural sources of zinc include animal rich protein foods like animal meat and seafood. Dairy products, legumes, pulses and whole grains also contain good amounts of zinc. Modern day foods contain added zinc and therefore are good sources too, though they availability and utility value for the body remain a question.

  1. Zinc improves immunity i.e. the body produces what are called as T cells when there is any infection or foreign body in the body. These T cells also help in controlling and regulating immune responses and in people with zinc deficiency, the immune system is suppressed putting them at risk for infections and illnesses.
  2. Zinc has a great role to play in maintaining skin integrity and delayed wound healing is one of the first symptoms of zinc deficiency. These people also could develop chronic ulcers or wounds. There is increased bacterial growth (reduced immunity), increased inflammation, and reduced re-epithelialization, all leading to poor skin health and delaying wound healing.
  3. Zinc is essential for healthy gut function and it is one of the best remedies for diarrhoea. Deficiency can lead to leaky gut syndrome.
  4. Zinc reduces free radical damage, which is responsible for chronic inflammation. Eating adequate amounts of zinc can reduce this inflammation, leading to preventing heart disease, reducing the incidence of cancer, etc. It also is shown to prevent cellular damage in the retina, thereby reducing incidence of macular degeneration.
  5. Zinc is essential for proper growth and development. Zinc deficiency is shown to produce shorter stature, anaemia, and delayed sexual maturation. During the growing years especially, it is very important to provide an adequate amount of zinc for the body, either naturally or through supplements.
  6. Fertility and zinc also has a strong correlation. In males, it affects both the quantity and quality of sperm production. The sperm count was shown to improve with zinc supplementation in males who complained of low sperm count.
  7. Controlling memory is another function of zinc. It determines how neurones talk to each other, which is essential for transmission of signals across the brain and formation of memory.
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