What is it about oysters that makes them so enticing? Eating them gives me a “forbidden fruit” feeling.
Eating oysters is almost a little naughty… they have a slippery texture, and their salty-sweet smell mimics female pheromones. And the way you shuck and eat them can increase libido, too.
Too bad the government wants to scare you away from them. The Food and Drug Administration has all kinds of warnings about eating raw oysters.
As a matter of fact, if you own an establishment and you serve raw oysters, you have to put a warning sign up that says it’s not safe to eat raw food and you probably shouldn’t do it.
Have you seen those signs? If you go to an oyster bar, you’ll notice them. They’re posted right above the bar. And that warning also has to be clearly visible in menus, or on tables.
It’s a shame the government doesn’t want you to eat them, and says they’re dangerous. Because oysters are the single best food source of a nutrient you need for sex. It helps you make testosterone, a primary sex hormone for both men and women.
The oyster’s secret? It’s zinc.
Zinc is one of the most important minerals we have on earth, and just six oysters give you all you need for the day.
Zinc helps over 300 enzymes work right. And it’s in almost every cell in your body. It helps your brain fire on all cylinders, and helps you produce energy.
The newest research tells us two things we never knew before.
- A new study finds that if you start taking zinc as soon as you have cold symptoms, your cold won’t last as long, and it will be less severe. And children who took supplements for at least five months had fewer sick days and took fewer antibiotics.1
- It’s especially important for your prostate and can protect from damage that could lead to cancer. But brand new research from Sweden finds zinc can also help protect you if you get prostate cancer. A study looked at 585 men with the disease, and in a six-year follow-up, high dietary levels were associated with a 36 percent lower risk of dying.2
And look at what else the zinc in these delicious, easy to get, pearls from the sea have in store for you:
- Zinc is critical for cells to grow and differentiate themselves from one another, especially when you’re young. One study gave babies who were born small a supplement formula for eight months. Half got a formula with zinc; the other half without. Babies in the zinc group had a 70 percent lower death rate.3
- Zinc is a heart-health booster. In one key study of 3,500 people in India, those who got less than 7 mg per day were more likely to suffer from heart disease.4 They had higher rates of high blood pressure, high triglycerides (fat that leads to blocked arteries), and low HDL cholesterol – all factors that put you on the fast track to a heart attack.
- Zinc has incredibly powerful protective effects in your stomach. One study compared zinc to famotidine (the over-the-counter drug Pepcid used to treat ulcers and acid reflux). The result? Patients in the zinc group experienced identical symptom relief to those who took Pepcid.5
The good news is, zinc is in many other common foods. Like a lot of our nutrients (CoQ10 and vitamin B12 to name two) animal meat is the best source.
Unfortunately, your body can only absorb 15–40 percent of the zinc in food. To get enough of this critical nutrient every day, you need to supplement.
One thing to remember is that supplements are to be taken in addition to what you get in your food, not as a replacement. You still want to eat foods with zinc because it will enter your body in its natural form. And that means it will bring with it all the trace minerals, enzymes, and co-factors that make it work so well in nature.
The U.S. government’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) for zinc is only 8 mg a day for women and 11 mg per day for men. Most of the popular multivitamins you can buy at a discount superstore or drug store have 15 mg of zinc in them.
The problem with going by the RDA is that those amounts were established to make sure people got the bare minimum of a nutrient to prevent a dietary deficiency. The RDA has nothing to do with how much of something you should get for optimum health.
At the very least, you need three times the RDA, and twice as much as the average store-bought multivitamin gives you.
I recommend 30 mg a day of zinc if you’re currently healthy. You might need a little more depending on your activities and health. For example for athletes, pregnant women and prostate protection, I recommend 100 mg a day.
Casanova, the 18th century ladies’ man, was famous for eating dozens of oysters at the start of every day. That’s not something I would recommend. Too much zinc can interfere with the absorption of other minerals. To avoid any of these problems, I simply take my zinc supplement before I go to bed.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
1 Singh, M., Das, R.R., “Zinc for the common cold,” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011; 2(1):CD001364
2 Epstein, M.M., et al, “Dietary zinc and prostate cancer survival in a Swedish cohort,” Am. J. Clin. Nutr. Mar. 2011;93(3):586-93
3 Sunil, Sazawal, PhD, et al “Zinc Supplementation in Infants Born Small for Gestational Age Reduces Mortality,” Pediatrics Dec. 2001;108(6):1280-1286
4 Singh, et al, “Current zinc intake and risk of diabetes and coronary artery disease and factors associated with insulin resistance…” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 1998;17:564-570
5 Garcia-Plaza, A. et al, “A multicenter clinical trial. Zinc acexamate versus famotidine in the treatment of acute duodenal ulcer,” Rev. Esp. Enferm. Dig. Nov. 1996;88(11):757-6