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Natasha Dunn

Senior embryologist at Primary IVF, Yoga teacher, Nutritionist
Natasha Dunn

Latest posts by Natasha Dunn (see all)

Why is Zinc so important?

Zinc is important for the body for many functions such as smell and taste, a strong immune system, to break down of carbohydrates, cell growth and division. Zinc is important for preconception as well as throughout pregnancy for the healthy growth of your baby. Zinc also aids in the function of insulin in the body.

Why is zinc important for a women’s fertility?

Zinc is known as the essential vitamin for optimal fertility! Zinc plays an important role in egg development as it aids in the maturing process of healthy eggs.

A study by Tian et al (2014) showed that zinc deficiency had an effect on egg quality and embryo quality before implantation. Zinc deficiency also increased low fertilization of an egg and increased the rate of early miscarriage.

Tian et al (2014) found that zinc deficiency has a long lasting effect on embryos and placental development and this has implications for the growing baby.

Zinc is needed for the normal functioning of the central nervous system and therefore the normal regulation of sex hormones and insulin to produce a mature egg.

Why is zinc important for a man’s fertility?

Zinc is needed for the normal function and production of sperm. In a study by Kvist U et al (1987), they found that fertile men had a higher percentage of sperm containing zinc than did infertile men.

Zinc is important for the syntheses and maintainence of normal levels of testosterone which is essential for male reproduction.

Zinc is important for the normal chromatin structure in sperm. Lower levels of zinc lead to decreased levels of normal sperm per ejaculate, and increased chances of miscarriage and infertility.

Where can I find zinc in my diet?

Food Serving size – Zinc (mg)
Pumpkin seeds 100g – 10mg
Water melon seeds dried 100g – 10mg
Sesame seeds 100g – 10mg
Dark Chocolate 100g – 9.6mg
Liver 75g – 8.4mg
Red meat 75g – 7mg
Oysters 1 oyster – 5.33mg
Lobster 85g – 3.4mg
Turkey 85g – 2.4mg
Yogurt 226.7g – 2.2mg
Cashews 28.3g – 1.6mg
Chickpeas cooked ½ cup – 1.3mg

For more zinc containing foods please read here.

How Do I Test My Zinc?

The most reliable method for testing zinc is by blood tests, specifically plasma zinc. You can start taking zinc and re-test in 6 weeks to check the supplement is working. Another method is a zinc taste test. You can do these with your nutritionist or naturopath today.

The recommended zinc intake per day is 8mg for women and 9mg for men. For men and women looking to conceive the recommended daily does is 15mg/day, and if breastfeeding aim for around 23mg/day.

If you feel you are not getting enough zinc in your diet you can make an appointment our nutritionist about a therapeutic supplement.

References:

Tian, X., Anthony, K., Neuberger, T., and Diaz, J, J., (2014). Preconception Zinc Deficiency Disrupts Postimplantation Fetal and Placental Development in Mice ‘Biology of Reproduction’ 90, 4, 83.

Kvist, U., Björndahl, L., Kjellberg, S (1987). Sperm nuclear zinc, chromatin stability, and male fertility. ‘Life Sciences’ 1, 3, 1241-1247.

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