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Zinc Deficiency & Male Emissions | Dr Michael Greger of

When you go vegan, you, or more so the people who know you, will most likely have nutrient- related concerns prior to zinc.  But, it usually does arise after the fears of protein, B12, Omega 3s and the like have been addressed.  Zinc is found in the highest concentration in oysters followed by beef.

However, just because something has the highest concentration of a nutrient doesn’t mean it’s the best source given all that comes along with the zinc. [tweet this]  Plus, an iron pipe certainly contains a lot of iron, but I wouldn’t recommend ingesting it to stave off anemia–nor does it mean it’s the only source.  I mean, the oysters and cows had the get the zinc from somewhere and it wasn’t from eating oysters and cows.

I’m excited to kick on the final three nutrients in the “where do you get your _?” vegan nutrition concerns series with the fantastic Dr. Michael Greger of  Let’s hear from him about the role of zinc in our body, how to get it from plants, and why you men out there may need to keep a zinc-rich snack next to your tissues. [tweet this]

To hear Dr. Greger's full take on the zinc issue, be sure to watch the video above.  But here are some choice nuggets:

“We can get zinc from beans, greens, nuts and seeds and whole grains. … If you don’t get enough zinc it can affect your taste acuity and though I’ve kissed a few vegans and I think they taste fine and there’s no evidence to suggest that people eating a plant-based diet have more problems with zinc, but you could imagine that someone who wasn’t eating whole foods living off french fries, beer and cotton candy and you just would not be getting enough zinc so we need to be eating whole grains, nuts, seeds and greens. [tweet this]

“Men actually require more zinc, the RDA for zinc is higher for men than for women and that’s because zinc is lost in every seminal emission.  So zinc is found in semen and we lose zinc when we lose semen.  So it’s interesting though how big a differential [it is].  So how many times does the Institute of Medicine think that men are ejaculating every day?  And it turns out, they put the differential at about 3 miligrams, so they are assuming men are ejaculating once a day.  If however, you need more or less you have to adjust accordingly.  And so, you might need a bowl of pumpkin seeds by your bed or something.  So, that’s an extra quarter cup of pumpkin seeds or peanuts for every extra loss a day for men.”

I hope you enjoyed hearing from Dr. Greger on this. be sure to watch the video for his full insights.  I particularly love my facial reaction when he says Institute of Medicine estimated men are ejaculating once a day, so do check it out for that if nothing else. (So professional of me.)

If you want to track your own intake of zinc, check out Cronometer to track your nutrition.

Sorry guys, I’m not sure if they have a tracker for your…um…emissions.  Maybe something to consider, Cronometer? No?  (I understand.)

But it’s totally free and pretty freakin’ awesome–so awesome that they’re sponsoring this video to help get this vital information out to you.  Be sure to click this link to make your profile so they know that Bite Size Vegan sent you.  I don’t get any money when you click it, but it makes Cronometer happy in a way that is vaguely associated with me.

(Which is just how you want to make someone happy…)

I’d love to hear from you on this- is zinc something you even worry about in your diet? if your vegan was it a concern when making the switch? if you’re considering veganism, is zinc on your radar?  Let me know in the comments!

See ya next nugget!







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Resources & Featured Videos:

Dr. Greger on Protein

Dr. Greger on B12

Dr. Greger on Omegas

Dr. Greger Nutrient Series

Nutrition Video Posts

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afterthought:  you know how they say the size of a man's hand or the size of his foot can tell you something about the size of another organ? well now people everywhere are going to be looking at the size of the bowl of pumpkin seeds on the side of his bed. thank you Dr. Greger. [tweet this]

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  1. sally anne hubbard on May 11, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    I take VegLife Vegan One Multiple by Solar.
    Zinc content is Zinc(As Zinc Amino Acid Chelate) 20 Mg 133% daily
    Zinc is something I never though of until your video.

  2. Kim DuFore on May 13, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Sorry if this is a bit tasteless. Is semen a good dietary source of zinc? Is it vegan? Somebody had to ask. I guess it’ll be me.

  3. Sebastian on August 22, 2016 at 7:08 am

    I was a bit surprised about the view of Michael Greger on zinc. Sure, eating a balanced vegan diet can have just enough zinc, but absorption can be an issue as well, since many vegan foods high in zinc are also high in phytate.

    What’s your view on this? What about for athletes? Have you seen J. Fuhrman and D. M. Ferreri, “Fueling the Vegetarian (Vegan) Athlete,” Curr. Sports Med. Rep., Vol. 9, No. 4, pp. 233 (2010)?

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