To understand why zinc and testosterone are highly related I want to recall a lesson from a popular italian doctor, which is also an ex professional bodybuilder that used to know and train with our heroes Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger back in the '80s.
There was a 43 year old man asking a question about the causes of his low T levels and how to increase testosterone naturally.
This man said he had been training every day since the age of 28 (for the past 15 years), but then he started to feel tired, bored and unenthusiastic of going to the gym anymore.
He tested his testosterone levels and they were way below normal, what to do then?
The doctor's answer was in line with what I keep saying all the time about training every day and overtraining in general.
I also remember him saying something about zinc and testosterone, and that inspired me to write this article.
Overtraining and Testosterone
First of all, 40 yrs old is not 20 yrs old.
Even tho in your head you are and feel the same and still wish you could go work out every day, your body works differently.
As we age it's not the strength what decreases (it remains the same up to around 50), but the ability to recover.
We can't go out for a wild night or exaggerate with physical activity without consequences.
Especially over 40, workouts and recovery should be dosed carefully because we are not allowed to make mistakes.
For example, I am currently on a two days routine (which become three when I can throw in an extra day to do just legs) because I want to take advantage of recovery.
Some people are really big and they work out five days a week, but who can say that they wouldn't be even bigger on a three day routine?
Well, in this guy's case it was pretty obvious that overtraining was the major cause of his fatigue and that low testosterone was just the result of excessive training.
First things first, this guy was advised to reduce the days of training from five to three. The other two days should have been dedicated to recovery, or cardio activity, but definitely not weight lifting.
Zinc and Testosterone Supplements
In the meantime, zinc and testosterone supplements such as Tribulus Terrestris, ZMA, Magnesium can be used to try to increase T levels naturally.
Tribulus Terrestris is an extract of a plant that has been used to treat problems of hypogonadism (cause of low t).
It works by stimulating the LH (luteinizing hormone) which in turn stimulates the production of testosterone in the testes.
Zinc is a mineral that had long been known for its ability to stimulate the production of testosterone.
A "recent" study, presented at the 1998 meeting of the American College of Sports and Medicine, showed that a particular form of zinc, combined with magnesium aspartate in the respective doses of 30 mg and 450 mg administered for 8 weeks in football players, are able to increase the levels of testosterone, leading to significant gains in strength and power.
This is what ZMA is all about, infact if you look at the composition of this testosterone supplement this is what you can see:
Why is Zinc so Important for Testosterone?
Why are zinc and testosterone so related?
The answer is in the properties of this important mineral:
- Zinc deficiency can cause, and actually results in a reduction in the total androgen receptors of 20-40% and an increase in the total number of estrogen receptors by 40-60%
- Zinc deficiency can cause gynecomastia by altering the relationship between androgens and estrogens. Zinc deficiency increases the conversion of androgens to estrogens
- Zinc is necessary for the metabolism of proteins
- Prostate gland has the highest concentration of zinc of all the other organs, and it does not work well if zinc deficiency is excessive and prolonged
- Cortisol levels in the blood rise significantly during periods of zinc deficiency. This hinders the release of LH hormone, which significantly alters the relationship between testosterone and cortisol
- Zinc is involved in the production of sperm and testosterone
- Adequate levels of zinc increased levels of free testosterone
I take zinc supplements regularly, sometimes I take zinc alone and other times combined with magnesium and vitamin b6 (ZMA).
ZMA has the advantage of helping me fall into a deep sleep, enhancing the recovery during rest hours.
Should you be tempted to take lots of zinc supplements, beware that as a rule, only about 20% of a single dose of zinc is absorbed and the larger the dose, the lower the percentage of absorption of it.
Vitamin B-6 has the property of increasing zinc absorption (another good reason to try ZMA).
Here is where to find these products:
In conclusion, if you feel tired, sleepy all day, with no energy etc. remember that zinc and testosterone supplements can do lots for you!
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