You’ve probably heard the folk wisdom about oysters being aphrodisiacs. Turns out the “folks” might be right.
Researchers from Barry University in Miami, Florida, along with neurologists from the University of Naples, Italy, analyzed bivalves (oysters, mussels, clams) bought from Naples fish markets. According to George Fisher, Ph.D., professor of chemistry at Barry University and lead author of the study, the mollusks contained two rare amino acids (D-aspartic acid and N-methyl-aspartate) that boost sex hormone levels. Earlier studies by the Naples team showed that injecting these amino acids into rats spurred the production of testosterone in males and progesterone in females, hormones linked with sexuality in humans. These amino acids degrade in cooking, and the highest levels of the chemicals in the bivalves occur in the spring. So skip the Oysters Rockefeller and order oyster shooters instead, especially in springtime. (There’s another good reason to eat oysters if you’re hoping to be a father soon. Oysters are a rich source of zinc, which boosts semen and testosterone production.)