In my practice, I review labs daily of cases of all kinds and what I have noticed especially reviewing fertility cases and labs, is that many women tend to run low or even deficient in zinc. And not only women, but their male partners can run the risk of low zinc levels as well. Zinc is highly important as it relates to fertility health and the development of a healthy baby.
Zinc is involved with hundreds of enzyme and protein functions in the body. It isn’t a sole cause for fertility problems, but can lead to other issues with important functions contributing to fertility issues. For instance, zinc is needed for proper hormone function including progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone. Being suboptimal, or even deficient in this important nutrient, could cause an imbalance in hormones.
It is important to consider your male partner’s health as well. Although very common to dismiss “the woman” as struggling with fertility problems, men can have their nutrient deficiencies as well – one being zinc. A zinc deficiency can have a role in lowering testosterone in men which will have an effect on sperm health. Commonly I hear about men going through fertility testing and their sperm is “immature”, or not mobile. And typically they are told to “recheck” in 6 months. This is a sign to me that they need more detailed testing to address a possible deficiency causing immature sperm and lowered hormone levels.
Zinc deficiency can arise through many processes and is quite common. For instance, a refined food diet, smoking, environmental toxin exposures, and a lack in dietary intake can all lead to zinc (and other nutrient) deficiency. Sometimes people supplement with other minerals which can lower zinc. And just because someone is taking a multi-vitamin, doesn’t mean that “they are covered”. Each person is unique in their genetic makeup, history, dietary intake, and hormone function.
Finally, not only is your zinc status an important factor for fertility health, but its also important for the development of a baby. Since it has a role in development and growth, having adequate zinc status is important to address in the prenatal stage, and not just after the baby is born. We want to promote optimal health in baby from the very start of their life and giving them the adequate building blocks is foundational!
In my office, we routinely check for these important levels as it relates to fertility health. If we have a hammer yet no nails, how can we build a house? Just like if we utilize hormones (natural or pharmaceutical), how can we be sure they are even working correctly? Nutrition is foundational.Leave a reply →