If your muscles are refusing to grow or make strength gains despite your relentless efforts in the gym, perhaps it’s time to look back a few centuries to the works of none other than William Shakespeare to help you break out of your training rut. While Mr. Shakespeare hardly had the slightest notion that he was scribing a reference to one of the best, if not the best, testosterone-boosting food, we, on the other hand, are much more aware of the effect this wonderful mollusk can have on our hormone levels.
So what makes oysters so great at boosting T levels? Well first and foremost, they are LOADED with zinc. Zinc is a mineral that increases testosterone levels very well. In fact, 1 cup of oysters contains approximately 147 milligrams of zinc, which is well over 900% of the required daily value. Due to the fact that ingesting too much zinc can lead to side effects such as diarrhea and vomiting, it is suggested that a whole cup of oysters only be eaten once a week. But even with this semi-rare consumption (once a week), your zinc levels will be high enough to pump up your body’s T levels.
Zinc is essential to allow your body to produce higher levels of testosterone for a couple reasons. First, if zinc levels in your body are low then your pituitary gland is unable to produce a couple hormones necessary to induce testosterone production—luteinizing as well as follicle stimulating hormones. Secondly, zinc prevents the production of the enzyme aromatase, which changes testosterone into estrogen.2
Another mineral found in oysters that is related to testosterone is magnesium. According to a study in the Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomechanical Analysis, men who have higher levels of magnesium have been found to also show higher levels of free testosterone, and more free testosterone means more testosterone that is available to be used by the body. One cup of oysters contains approximately 87.5 milligrams of magnesium, which is roughly 22% of the recommended daily value, so this is well within the range of what a healthy human can handle.1
The third component of oysters that improves the production and use of testosterone is protein. A higher intake of protein leads to higher albumin production, which means higher levels of free testosterone.3 However, understand that diets that are too high in protein, specifically diets that have a higher percentage of protein than carbohydrates, are thought to lead to testosterone being excreted through urine. For one cup of oysters, you can expect to get around 11.4 grams of protein, which is only 23% of the recommended daily value.1 So, while eating a cup of oysters will by no means put you in danger of losing your hard-earned T down the drain in the men’s room, be mindful of your protein consumption relative to the other macronutrients.
Finally, oysters contain a very small amount of saturated fat, approximately 1.0 gram per cup, which has also been shown to increase T levels.1 More specifically, studies have shown that individuals who weight train displayed higher testosterone levels when following a diet higher in saturated fat than individuals who did not weight train. The potential side-effects of indulging in a high saturated fat diet are well documented, but as long as this is kept in check and you are continuing to hit the iron, then you should be able to enjoy the effects of greater testosterone levels.
So if you have been getting nowhere in the weight room try adding a weekly dose of oysters to your diet and see the world in a whole new light. As Pistol said, “The world’s mine oyster,” so start enjoying some oysters and start enjoying the world.
Intern Trainer, Fitness Quest 10