For centuries, men have believed that oysters and other shellfish are natural aphrodisiacs. But, until now, there has been little, if any, scientific evidence to support that claim. A new study, however, shows that oysters, clams, mussels and scallops all have chemical compounds that release sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. Skeptics still abound, however. Some scientists wonder if the foods have enough of the chemicals to trigger libido.
All these foods can be part of a fabulous meal, but the aftereffect is more likely to be weight gain and the need for a nap than a night of rapturous lovemaking.
Ancient claim may be true However, a new study by American and Italian chemists claims that as far as oysters, clams and mussels are concerned, the ancient claim may be true.
"The supposition for centuries was that oysters, clams and mussels have been thought to have aphrodisiac properties," said researcher George Fisher, a professor of chemistry from Barry University, in Miami Shores, Florida.
"And they were eaten raw for that purpose."
Sexual hormones released Until recently, there was no scientific basis for that belief, Fisher added.
But what he and his colleagues have discovered is that mussels, clams and oysters contain compounds that have been shown to be effective in releasing sexual hormones such as testosterone and oestrogen.
"We found there might be a scientific basis for the aphrodisiac properties of these mollusks," Fisher said.
A way to go Not so fast, says food myth expert Dr Robert Shmerling, an associate professor of medicine from Harvard Medical School.
"The findings are certainly interesting, but we still have a way to go before saying that there is scientific evidence that clams, oysters and scallops boost libido," he said.
Shmerling asks this: When D-aspartic acid and NMDA are digested, do they still lead to sex hormone release?
"Testosterone is thought to play a more major role in libido in men and women than oestrogen alone; in fact, oestrogen release could reduce libido in women.
In addition, Shmerling wonders if animal studies linking D-aspartic acid and NMDA to the release of sex
hormones is even relevant to humans.
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