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Zinc and Sperm – Benefits for Male Fertility

We discuss various nutrients and dietary supplements in this article that may or may not be helpful. If you purchase recommended products, services, or treatments, it may benefit CNY Fertility financially. Read more about our financial relationships here . The supplements discussed in this article are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, take any medications, or have been diagnosed with a medical condition, consult with a healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement.

Research has shown that levels of zinc and sperm quality are highly associated. Low zinc or zinc deficiency can negatively influence several factors that are directly related to male fertility like low testosterone and decreased sperm quality. As such, ensuring appropriate zinc levels can be an important aspect of achieving optimal sperm health and overall male fertility.

Zinc can be found in animal foods like meat or shellfish, and it is also a key ingredient in many male fertility supplements. This article will discuss and cover research on how zinc impacts sperm quality and everything you need to know to get more zinc pumping through your veins!

Table of Contents
  • Fast Facts
  • Zinc and Male Fertility
  • Zinc Levels in Sperm and the Affect on Fertility
  • Supplementing Zinc and Sperm
  • How to Get More Zinc
  • Other Helpful Tips
  • The Bottom Line About Zinc for Men

Fast Facts

  • Males are constantly producing sperm. However, sperm take approximately 90 days to develop fully. Therefore, it is ideal if you can make changes targeting sperm health for 3+ months prior to trying to conceive.
  • Sperm quality is subject to fluctuations in the testicular environment. The testicular environment is influenced by factors like nutrient levels, heat, toxins, and more.
  • Zinc is a mineral with antioxidant properties that play a critical role in sperm development.
  • Zinc levels are highly associated with increased sperm volume/count and other sperm parameters. Zinc and other nutrients can help to protect sperm from damaging effects caused by toxins.
  • Research indicates zinc supplementation may help to improve sperm parameters and low testosterone levels.

Zinc and Male Fertility

Zinc is a mineral that is essential for the normal functioning of the male reproductive system. Several studies have been conducted to explore the relationship between zinc and male fertility. The results of these studies have shown that zinc levels in the seminal plasma are positively associated with male fertility and that zinc supplementation may significantly increase semen volume, sperm motility, and the percentage of normal sperm morphology.

Zinc Levels in Sperm and the Affect on Fertility

Zinc is normally found in high values in seminal fluid. In fact, studies have shown that zinc is at its highest concentration in human seminal plasma when compared to any other human tissue. The concentration of zinc in sperm also increases as sperm develop.

In one study, researchers tested the seminal plasma in men. Researchers found that seminal zinc levels were positively associated with male fertility. The results of the study indicated that poor zinc nutrition may contribute to low sperm quality.

In 2016, a group of researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 17 studies to explore the relationship between seminal plasma zinc and male fertility. Researchers found zinc concentrations in seminal plasma to be positively associated with male fertility.

Supplementing Zinc and Sperm

Since zinc plays such a vital role in sperm development, it makes sense that increased zinc levels can positively affect sperm quality. As previously mentioned, zinc can be obtained by eating different foods, but the best way to significantly increase zinc levels is by taking a zinc supplement. Supplementing zinc has been shown to have a direct effect on several different sperm parameters.

Based on the results of the meta-analysis of zinc and male fertility studies referenced above, researchers concluded that zinc supplementation significantly increased sperm volume, sperm motility, and percentage of normal sperm morphology.

Several other studies have shown that zinc supplementation may also improve sperm motility, specifically in subfertile men with idiopathic asthenozoospermia and/or oligozoospermia.

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Zinc for Smokers

As you may know, smoking has been shown to decrease male fertility significantly. Research has shown that supplementing zinc may actually help to combat the damage caused by smoking on sperm quality. In one study, men who smoked but had appropriate zinc levels didn’t see the same negative effects on their sperm quality compared to men who smoked with low zinc.

Smoking increases the amount of harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the body. ROS can cause oxidative stress which leads to reduced sperm quality. Researchers believe that zinc’s antioxidant properties help to reduce ROS which protects the sperm from damage. Zinc plays several vital roles throughout spermatogenesis (development of sperm), so it is no surprise that higher zinc levels are associated with better quality sperm.

Although zinc may help to reduce the damage caused by smoking, we still recommend stopping smoking if you are trying to conceive. And if you do smoke, you should certainly consider taking a zinc supplement while you quit!

Zinc for Low Testosterone and Heavy Exercisers

Research has shown that zinc may play a vital role in influencing male testosterone levels. Zinc supplementation has been shown to increase testosterone levels and sperm count for men with low zinc.

One common cause of low testosterone is over-exercising. Men who participate in excessive amounts of high-intensity exercise are more likely to experience low testosterone levels.

Research has shown that supplementing zinc can significantly improve the testosterone levels of men who participate in exhaustive exercise.

How to Get More Zinc

High levels of zinc are found in food like shellfish and beef, but it can be difficult to ensure appropriate zinc levels if you aren’t eating those foods regularly. Many men, especially vegetarians, do not obtain adequate amounts of zinc through their diet alone. In fact, 17.3% of the global population suffers from zinc deficiency.

In lieu of a high zinc diet, zinc supplements can help to increase zinc levels and ensure your sperm are getting the support they need to develop properly.

Foods High in Zinc

Check out the chart below for more information on foods high in Zinc. Percent daily values are based on the National Institute of Health’s recommended daily value for zinc of 11mg.


As you can see, there is a quick and sharp decline in zinc-containing foods after beef. Many other vitamins and nutrients that are known to support male fertility are also difficult to ensure appropriate levels of through diet alone. For this reason, taking fertility supplements is a good way to fill gaps in your diet and ensure you are getting all the zinc and other nutrients you need to ensure optimal sperm health.

While you could take a supplement containing just Zinc, we recommend taking a comprehensive male preconception vitamin, like Molecular Fertility’s Male Preconception+. Male Preconception+. Male Preconception + contains 25 mg of zinc (227% of recommended daily value) and is formulated with many other vitamins and nutrients designed to help support sperm health.

Our team of specialists at CNY Fertility developed Molecular Fertility supplements specifically to support fertility health.

Other Helpful Tips

Taking zinc supplements isn’t the only way to try and improve your fertility. Check out some of the recommendations below from our full guide on increasing sperm count, motility, morphology, and overall male fertility!

Cool It Down

When trying to improve your fertility, it is best to avoid situations that can raise the temperature of the testicles, like hot tubs, saunas, and other high heat situations. The testicles naturally have a lower temperature compared to the rest of the body. This low-temperature environment is ideal for the development of sperm.

Multiple studies have shown that heat exposure from hot tubs and saunas can negatively impact male fertility.

Stop Smoking

Smoking and fertility don’t mix! Smoking is known to negatively impact several aspects of male fertility, including sperm density, count motility, and, interestingly enough, the amount of zinc in sperm.

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Limit Alcohol and Marijuana Use

When you are trying to get pregnant, it is best to limit both alcohol and marijuana use.

Several studies have shown that alcohol can cause a deterioration in sperm quality and negatively affect men’s overall sexual health. The good news is research also shows that stopping drinking can result in a drastic improvement in multiple different semen parameters

Research regarding marijuana’s impact on fertility is more limited, but still shows potential negative effects. There is research available that indicates marijuana may decrease sperm count, concentration, morphology, and motility.

Vitamin D, Get Some Sun

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for support men’s overall health, especially their fertility. Unfortunately, studies have shown that around 40% of adults in the U.S. suffer from vitamin D deficiency, which can negatively impact male fertility. Obtaining appropriate levels of vitamin D through sunshine alone can be difficult, especially during the winter months.

As such, fertility specialists recommend taking vitamin D as part of a fertility supplement like Male Preconception+ or as a stand-alone supplement.

Other Vitamins to Increase Sperm Quality and Volume

Zinc is just one of many vitamins and nutrients that research has shown may increase sperm count, motility, and overall male fertility. Nutrients like Co-Q10, folate, Vitamins A, E, and C, and acetyl-l carnitine have also been shown to positively impact fertility and can be found in male fertility supplements.

When evaluating different male fertility supplements, look for products containing lots of different supportive ingredients. When different nutrients are taken in combination, it can maximize their beneficial effects leading to further increased male fertility.

The Bottom Line About Zinc for Men

Zinc is one of many essential nutrients and minerals for male fertility. Ensuring appropriate levels can be difficult to obtain through diet alone. Supplementing zinc has been shown to have multiple positive effects on sperm and overall male fertility. On the contrary, zinc deficiency is highly associated with reduced male fertility and decreased sperm quality.

Sterile seed – advice needed

Surprised me too. There were 5 oaxaca plants about 1m tall (this is a pure sativa) and I took a good sniff of each one. This was some local bag seed I kept from half a lid of really strong stuff.
I found one particular plant that had a very strong skunky smell, like cheese.

When they were about 2m tall they began to flower and to my disgust they were all male, no question of it.

The other 4 males didn’t have the smell so I ripped them out and flung them in the trash. I was curious about the smelly one so I cured some and tried it; it knocked me flat. Stronger than many females I tried.

So, my next thought was, if I had such a strong male I would cross it with my pure indicas, the Aurora, and make a new strain that might be a real winner.
A while later the skunky male sativa was in full flower with pollen flying everywhere so I pollinated my Auroras with it. Sure enough seeds began to form pretty damn quick. I thought, great, next crop I’ll plant these, select the best and begin to refine my own strain. I even began dreaming up names for it.

Meanwhile I found female flowers on the plant and saw that it had turned hermie. I got some seeds from it, too.

I tried to germinate the seeds from the hermie male but they wouldn’t germinate. This surprised me but I wasn’t too bothered because who wants hermie seed anyway? So I waited for my new seed strain.
When the new strain was mature I took the seed, let it dry for about three weeks, put it in a sealed bottle in the fridge for a couple of weeks, and then tried germinating it. I have tried and tried but it seems useless. opening a seed, it looks like any other normal seed. Just doesn’t work.
Now, maybe I shouldn’t blame the Aurora considering that the hermie Oaxaca seed didn’t work either. Maybe I have just discovered something: that seed from a male hermie is sterile?

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Git "R" lit
Well-Known Member

if those seeds dont spout, then its no good.

live with that. you do not want to work too hard over little seeds that will not spout, try soak it for a week, if it hasnt spout, its just a shell of the seed itself..

Gone Baby Gone

IM still confused here. you sampled the MALE and it knocked you on yo ***? did you smoke the seedpods? Males dont produce buds.

Your judging your weed by how they smell in VEG. Now im even more confused. Males tend to be more smelly than females, so if you threw the ones that didnt smell away those were probably females.

A Male Hermie?:doh:

this whole thread is confusing? is it just a typo?

Bloody H E L L !

IM still confused here. you sampled the MALE and it knocked you on yo ***? did you smoke the seedpods? Males dont produce buds.

Your judging your weed by how they smell in VEG. Now im even more confused. Males tend to be more smelly than females, so if you threw the ones that didnt smell away those were probably females.

A Male Hermie?:doh:

this whole thread is confusing? is it just a typo?

Gone Baby Gone

I dont think males copntain any THC. so I dont know how you got loaded smaoking the leaves and flowers of the male.

Just so you know the plant was never Male. it was always Hermie. The male preflowers just showed before the female.

***Organic Grower***

There can be plants of confused sex on both sides of the spectrum. Males can turn hermie and shoot female pistils and females can sprout nuts.
I have had one male which produced male flowers on one of it’s twin heads, and on the other head or branch be 100% female. weird i know, but it’s the truth.

Now. Here is an explanation of why your seeds could be sterile. From what i read on breeding a female which produces a male flower or two (hermies) will produce pollen that should be potent and fertile. So thus you get female seeds( although with hermie tendancies) not necessarily 100% female seeds rather.

Males that spit out female flowers and self pollinate tend to produce sterile seed, or predominately male plants from the seed that is produced.

Now.. if you took pollen from the male plant and transplanted it to another female in the room that is un related which is what sounds like happened, you should of gotten fertile seeds that should pop.

Honestly the problem here looks like either your germination method or the media that you choose to grow them in. Germination of seeds isn’t just a slam shut case, some strains can take days to pop and sometimes a week or more. Thai seeds are notorious for taking up to 3 weeks to pop. holysheep:

I think overall you have gotten impatient with your seeds and began thinking something was wrong before there actually was something wrong. I would love to hear how you germed them so i can see where else if anywhere you went wrong before you blame the seeds. 9 times out of 10 it’s the grower and not the seeds/plant and i would like to rule that possibility out . AND MALES DO IN FACT PRODUCE THC. normally it’s not in huge amounts and makes harvesting them pointless. But in certain cases the males are extremely potent and resiny and will in fact get you very HIGH/STONED.

Both MALES and FEMALES can reverse sex and become a hermaphordite. A plant doesn’t have to be female first to be a hermie as a male can reverse as well, or show opposite sexes on different branches ect. ect.