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Zinc Deficiency, Low Testosterone, and Prostate Enlargement

Written by Author - Authors Medical experts of the National HRT Clinic - December 4, 2015

An enlarged prostate is one of the issues that aging men face in their lives. The cause of this condition is being studied around the globe, and some interesting answers are shedding light on a problem that can affect a male on many different levels. The role of zinc deficiency and low testosterone on prostate enlargement is being examined, and some studies have shown that addressing these issues can help to shrink prostate size in older men.

Zinc Deficiency and Prostate Enlargement

Does zinc deficiency cause low testosterone, and does that, in turn, subject a man to prostate enlargement?

It is well documented that testosterone levels begin a slow and gradual decline at some point after the age of thirty in most men. Activity levels, lifestyle habits, diet, stress, and sleep all play a factor in this rate of decline – typically falling somewhere between 1 and 2 percent a year. It may be many years or even decades before a man starts to notice any symptoms of Low T, if ever at all. Some men never have any issues with this change of life – also referred to as andropause.

By the time the same man reaches his fifties, his level of zinc is also starting to decline. Around this time, prostate health may begin to change. Exploring the relationship between zinc deficiency, prostate health, and testosterone problems is what can provide both the clues and the possible treatment for a man who finds himself up all night running to the bathroom to try and empty his bladder – only to find a slight trickle of a stream.

In fact, the symptoms of enlarged prostate include:

  • Decreased urinary flow and force
  • Extreme urgency for urination
  • Bladder leakage
  • Increased frequency to urinate
  • Painful urination
  • Feelings of a full bladder after urinating
  • Difficulty initiating urination
  • Blockage due to enlarged prostate
  • Frequent waking to urinate

Issues such as these are a warning sign that it is time to visit a doctor for a physical examination and prostate check. Early intervention can help reduce prostate size and improve urinary tract functions.

How Does Zinc Affect Testosterone Production and Prostate Health?

Zinc plays a crucial role in both testosterone production and prostate health. Prostate tissues rely on zinc for overall health. Zinc also plays a key role in sperm production and motility. Since it increases a man’s sperm count, a deficiency can also lead to infertility. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey discovered that 45% of adults over 60 have low levels of zinc.

One significant problem between zinc deficiency and testosterone is that it prevents the prostate gland from converting testosterone into DHT (dihydrotestosterone) with the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. DHT has been blamed for breaking down testosterone and contributing to prostate enlargement and even damaging hair follicles and leading to baldness. Aging men have higher levels of DHT in their bloodstreams.

Part of the low testosterone-zinc deficiency connection focuses on the enzyme aromatase, which is used to convert testosterone into estrogen. Zinc inhibits aromatase from making this conversion. As men age, their estrogen levels rise while their testosterone levels decline. This becomes a problem because estrogen stimulates another chemical – sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) – that binds to testosterone so that it is no longer free in the bloodstream and able to perform its tasks.

Weight gain is another issue for prostate health. Testosterone levels that are low predispose a man to gain weight. This increases the amount of estrogen in his body, contributing to a vicious cycle. The lower the levels of testosterone go, the higher the levels of estrogen, and the larger the prostate will become.

Signs of Zinc Deficiency and Low Testosterone

It is essential to know what to look for when dealing with zinc deficiency and low testosterone. Each of these conditions will have its own unique set of symptoms.

Signs of zinc deficiency include:

  • White spots on nails
  • Poor nail growth
  • Decreased eyesight
  • Diarrhea
  • Problems with smell and taste
  • Wasting of body tissues
  • Memory loss
  • Infertility
  • Frequent colds
  • Anemia
  • Skin dryness and rashes
  • Hair loss
  • Digestion concerns – IBD or IBS

Symptoms of Low T typically include:

  • Increased fat accumulation
  • Loss of lean body mass
  • Fatigue and poor endurance
  • Decreased drive and motivation
  • Problems with concentration, memory, and mental abilities
  • Hair loss or thinning from head and body
  • Reduced bone density
  • Depression and mood changes
  • High cholesterol
  • Decreased sexual desire and arousal
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Hot flashes

Treating Zinc Deficiency and Low Testosterone for Prostate Health

Supplemental zinc usage for six weeks has been shown to improve the level of testosterone in men dealing with Low T. Adults should restrict their dosage of supplemental zinc to under 40 milligrams each day. The recommended daily allowance for men is between 10 and 12 mg per day.

One small, 19-person study on zinc deficiency and prostate enlargement by Dr. Irving Bush, at the Center for Study of Genitourinary Disease in West Dundee IL, found that 14 of the men experienced prostate shrinkage after taking 150 milligrams of zinc sulfate every day for two months. Their dosage was subsequently lowered to between 50 and 100 milligrams every day for maintenance. This level of treatment should be used under the supervision of a doctor.

Ultimately, the best way to raise zinc levels is through dietary changes. The following food sources are high in zinc:

  • Pumpkin seeds, raw – the number one option – consume one to four ounces each day
  • Brown rice
  • Yogurt
  • Lean meat and fish
  • Oysters/ Shellfish
  • Raw cheese and milk
  • Fermented foods
  • Beans
  • Green tea

It is crucial to monitor zinc levels because too much can depress immune system functions. Any form of enlarged prostate zinc treatment should be supervised by a specialist. Many men turn to hormone replacement therapy doctors at this time to explore the need for testosterone replacement treatment in addition to working to increase their zinc levels – either through diet or supplementation.

At National HRT, our hormone specialists work with men to increase zinc and testosterone levels safely while shrinking the prostate gland. Please contact us for a free consultation to find out how we can help you. Diagnostic testing at local labs is available throughout the US, and we offer many affordable options for hormone replacement.

Medically reviewed by   Reviewers National HRT Staff - Updated on December 4, 2015

Please note that the information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.