It feels great to have sex and thus naturally; we always want more of it. But sex might start feeling like a burden or a pain if you and your partner are trying time and again to conceive but are unable to do so. Now, although there can be many reasons for not being able to conceive, you would be surprised to know that male infertility continues to be one of the primary reasons for the same.
In the last four decades, male infertility has been on the rise. Researchers are working over the years to get a better understanding of male infertility and the factors responsible behind it. As per a recent study done by Peter Sutovsky and his doctoral student Karl kens from the University of Missouri, it was found that a deficiency of Zinc had a much more significant role to play in male infertility than previously assumed.
Zinc is a nutrient which plays many a vital role in the body like improving the immune system, supporting growth and helping in healing of wounds. Since zinc is not stored in the body naturally, the only way to ensure that the body receives sufficient amounts of Zinc is either through natural foods or zinc supplements. So what role does Zinc exactly play in male infertility? Well, to understand that better, first, let us know what factors are the health of a sperm decided on:
- Sperm Count: This refers to the quantity of sperm present in the semen
- Sperm Motility: Sperm motility is the ability of the sperm to move forward efficiently.
- Sperm Morphology: This means the shape of the sperm.
All three above factors play an essential role in male fertility. A good number of sperms in good shape, which are alive and moving forward, have a much higher chance of fighting against the odds inside the female’s reproductive system, reaching the egg and fertilizing the same, than unhealthy sperm.
So coming to the study, it suggests that Zinc plays an important role in the health of your sperm, right from the time of production. If you have more quantity of Zinc in your body and reproductive system, then the quality of sperms that your body produces will be healthier. Research also suggests that taking of zinc supplements, including zinc sulfate has helped improve the sperm count, quality and motility in many men who have male infertility.
So when a couple is not able to conceive naturally, most of the time, they resort to fertility treatments or assisted reproductive technologies like IVF. So what these studies suggest is that knowing about the role of these natural elements like Zinc, when it comes to male infertility, will help couples take a more informed decision when it comes to fertility treatments.
Surprisingly, the role of Zinc in male infertility and reproduction doesn’t end here. Another gland that plays an important role in male reproduction is your prostate. Its primary functions are the production of prostate fluid which is a component of semen and to help propel the seminal fluid into the urethra during ejaculation. Here also, when it comes to the health of your prostate, Zinc plays a vital role.
It not only helps to decrease the risk of prostatitis (swelling and inflammation of the prostate gland which also leads to male infertility) but also a high concentration of Zinc in the prostate fluids helps improve sperm motility. Also, low levels of Zinc have been linked to lower testosterone and erectile dysfunction (ED). Low levels of testosterone mean lower libido or sexual desire, which can be harmful if you and your partner are trying to conceive.
Erectile dysfunction again is a type of sexual dysfunction which can also be termed as male impotence. It is interesting to know that zinc supplements have been used by urologists over the years to treat ED.So now that we know that Zinc plays a vital role in male fertility, how much of Zinc should a man be taking every day and from what sources? As per doctors, the recommended dose of Zinc to be taken every day for men of nineteen years and above would be 11 mg.
So what would be the best sources of Zinc? Along with Zinc-rich foods like Nuts, seafood, animal meat, peas, beans whole grain cereals, and dairy products, Zinc is also available as dietary supplements.
Medically reviewed by Rishabh Verma, RP