There is a widespread belief zinc deficiency may contribute to erectile dysfunction (ED). Here’s what we think!
What Will I Learn
Zinc and Erectile Dysfunction
Zinc is a trace mineral present in many foods.
When your diet does not provide enough zinc, or other factors deplete levels of zinc within the body, it can be detrimental to the health in many ways.
There is a widespread belief zinc deficiency may contribute to erectile dysfunction (ED) as well.
Zinc is not the only nutrient that’s been linked to ED. If you are deficient in vitamins you could experience ED.
Deficiencies in Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and certain B vitamins have the potential to interfere with a man’s ability to get hard too.
There’s a lot to be said for eating a balanced diet.
When your diet provides all the nutrients your body needs each day, it promotes a feeling of well-being and helps you stay free from disease.
ED is just one of many problems a poor diet can cause.
However, the main focus of this article is the relationship between zinc and ED
Zinc and Male Fertility
During boyhood and adolescence, zinc helps the male sex organs develop and function correctly.
It continues to aid male sexual function all through a man’s life.
One of the many things zinc does within the body is help regulate testosterone.
As you are probably aware, testosterone is the male sex hormone.
Hormones are chemical messengers that serve multiple important roles in the body.
Testosterone belongs to a group of hormones known as androgens.
Androgens are sex hormones that provide men with their male characteristics.
Although testosterone is the main androgen, the other androgen hormones are important too.
Androgens work together as a team. It’s a little like football.
Testosterone is the quarterback. It’s the star player but it can’t go it alone. It is important to get your levels checked from time to time, it’s fairly simple process.
The hormone prolactin is a key player too. Zinc helps regulate prolactin.
Men who are zinc deficient may find their prolactin level becomes too high (Hyperprolactinemia). This can cripple libido and reduce fertility.
It can also cause ED. 
The body also uses zinc to produce prostatic fluid, which accounts for around 30 percent of the semen a man ejaculates.
When it comes to male virility, zinc is a little like a quarterback too.
Zinc Deficiency Is Surprisingly Common
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), zinc deficiency affects around one-third of the world’s population.
That’s a surprisingly large percentage of people.
However, poor diet is not the only issue that may cause the body to be deficient in zinc. Other factors can come into play as well.
Improper nutrition is the most common cause of zinc deficiency.
However, that does not mean everyone who does not get enough zinc is living on junk food. People who are vegan or vegetarian often have very healthy diets.
Unfortunately, meat and shellfish are the best foods for providing zinc. For that reason, vegans and vegetarians may need to use a supplement to make sure they are getting enough zinc every day.
Consuming enough zinc is only effective if your body manages to process it and retain it.
Some foods contain phytic acid, which can block zinc absorption.
That means much of the zinc you consume, via food and supplements, may end up leaving your body as poop instead of entering your blood.
Phytic acid blocks the absorption of other important minerals, such as calcium and iron, as well.
The top 4 foods that contain phytic acid are:
This is another issue vegans and vegetarians need to be aware of when they are planning their meals.
So, if you have recently cut meat from your diet and subsequently begun having problems with ED, there are strong arguments for avoiding sources of phytic acid and considering using a zinc supplement.
Some medical conditions can interfere with zinc absorption as well.
Conditions that may do this include:
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Liver and kidney disease
Some medications can also interfere with zinc absorption.
If you think your ED may be due to a medical issue or a change in medication, it’s a good idea to share your concerns with a doctor. The problem may be easier to rectify than you think.
Zinc and ED: A Look at the Research
Research conducted at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan strongly supports the mineral’s role in testosterone production.
The young men who took part in the study were fed a diet that deliberately low in zinc.
Not surprisingly, they became zinc deficient. During the 20 weeks, their testosterone levels fell by around 75 percent.
Meanwhile, the researchers treated elderly men with zinc supplements. Their testosterone levels almost doubled. 
Some men who have ED don’t have low testosterone levels but increasing zinc intake may be very helpful to the ones who do.
Unfortunately, although there is plenty of evidence to support using zinc to boost testosterone, there is a lack of study regarding the value of zinc as a treatment for ED.
However, research from the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka shows rats given 5 milligrams of zinc per day became more interested in sex and attained better erections. 
Zinc and Erectile Dysfunction – The Bottom Line
Although there is no clear-cut proof zinc can help with ED, there is plenty of evidence to show the important relationship it has with testosterone.
Zinc deficiency causes testosterone levels to drop. Supplementing with zinc increases testosterone. The male supplement Testogen for example has 10mg in its formula.
We know that. The science is there.
We also know testo plays an important role in male sexual desire and potency. Making a connection between zinc deficiency and ED does not require a huge leap of faith.
Then there’s the oyster connection.
Oysters have a longstanding reputation for being an aphrodisiac. Lots of men claim eating oysters gets them all fired up and ready to go.
Some experts point out the libido-boosting ability of oysters could be because their flesh is so high in zinc.
There are many factors that can cause men to experience ED and several of them are diet-related.
Modifying your diet so that it contains plenty of nutrient-rich, low-fat foods is a simple lifestyle tweak that could make a big difference to your sex organ and your overall quality of life.
If your ED persists, there are specialist supplements that can help.